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I know you're not going to believe this kids, but, here in Russia, we had no Christmas!

Friday, December 26th, 2003

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Chris Who?

Nobody knew it was Christmas!

How was your Christmas, kids? Now I know you're not going to believe this, but, here in Russia — brace yourself! — we had no Christmas! (No! Noooo!) That's right — and what's worse, nobody even knew that it was Christmas!

On Wednesday evening, the night before Christmas — right about the time you were eyeing your presents under the Christmas tree before getting ready for bed — nobody here in Russia seemed to know or to care that it was Christmas Eve.

You know the famous verse, right?

It was the night before Christmas,
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse...

Well, here in the temple in Saint Petersburg, it was even quieter: no TV, no radio, no newspaper. And no jingle bells. Seated on a wooden bench at a wooden table on the cold tiled floor of the dining room outside the kitchen, I spooned down some half-cold soup and retired to my room. Did you ever see the movie, James and the Giant Peach? Like that.

Ho, ho, ho. I don't think so!

Christmas morning dawned cold and bleak. The wind was blowing like anything outside, howling under the eaves and around the chimneys, sweeping the yard clean of snow and exposing the slippery ice below. Mangala arati, breakfast, lunch, sandhya arati, supper, bed. And a merry Christmas to you too.

Nobody knew it was Christmas! I did not even hear anybody say the word, "Christmas." I'm like, ah, am I in The Twilight Zone or something? I don't think so... I would have heard that weird deedle deedle deedle deedle music that they play, right? Then what the <blank> happened to Christmas?

Saaay, do you think that the...? Nah... too obvious. I know! What if the...? Nah, nah... even more obviouser. Well, I'm going to find out what happened to Christmas in Russia if it's the last thing I ever do (and I will too!).

Kids! Do you know what happened to Christmas? Email me if you have any clues...

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Layout by imonk — December 26th, 2003.