Established in 1983 as a sign of reconciliation and understanding between Germany and the Soviet Union, the twinning arrangement has won many awards, u.a. in 2002 by Federal President Johannes Rau in four categories with the "1. Award for civic engagement in Russia", and from Gabriele Krone-Schmalz as a "shining example" German-Russian cooperation vowed. In 2018, foreign ministers Heiko Maas and Sergei Lavrov honored the blog with a certificate of gratitude.

Posts Tagged ‘Russian Christmas traditions

The fortune teller of Vladimir

About the "Russian Rauhnachten" – see – there is the custom of telling each other true on "Christ’s baptism". The Euroklub Vladimir also conveys this tradition to its guests time and again, as on the 21st of December. January to the volunteer from Jena, Jakob Schombierski, who describes today what he oracles in the twin town.

In the world some practices are known which fall under the term fortune telling. There are many different ways to do this. While this is demonized in some parts of the world as sinful behavior, it arouses great interest in many other people. Many people simply enjoy hearing something about their future that motivates them or makes them happy. The bandwidth of this topic is in any case huge and ranges from fanatics to people who despise this topic in the deepest way. I now had the chance to act as a fortune teller myself for once.


Magic hour in the Euroclub to Vladimir

It all started a few days before the evening when everything took place, when I was told what my task would be. As a fortune teller, I was supposed to create signs with a candle and then interpret them. This involves lighting a candle and holding it over a plate filled with water. The candle must be moved in such a way that different characters are created. These are to be interpreted afterwards. At the time, I couldn’t quite figure out how to do this. So first I started to write down different possible signs and to think of a meaning for them, to prepare myself a bit for fortune telling. After a few signs, which I had noted down, I felt at least a little more secure. Then the day of the fortune telling came closer and closer. One day before the exact procedure was agreed and rehearsed again. When that was done, I definitely felt much more confident than before and could approach it calmly. The following day everything else went as usual. First I held my German and English lesson. During my English lesson I started with the fortune telling. For this purpose I went with all participants of my English lesson into an adjoining room. In this one only candles gave light. The candles were placed around the plate filled with water. In addition, there was a large candle, which stood directly behind the plate. To the left were oblong candles, which could be taken in the hand to then form the signs on the water. In addition, medieval-mystical music provided extra atmosphere. Then it could already start. At the beginning we all lined up around the table with the plate. After that I took the floor and began to introduce the whole event with an explanation. I took a candle, lit it and moved it back and forth over the plate. Thus many different forms developed. When I could see something through my imagination, I finished the process, put down the candle and began to talk about it. Of course I had to give free rein to my imagination to do this. I first began to explain a general meaning for the sign and then to relate this meaning to the life of the people in the room. Using the example of a big star, which could only be seen in fragments in the basin, my words could have been that for every human being there is a star in the universe. Since the sign of the star has formed for the person in the room who created it with the candle, it would mean: The person has already completed his first steps towards his perfection, but new undertakings and experiences are needed to reach the great enlightenment. I hope by this example it is a little better to understand how the whole process happened. Afterwards all participants tried it out themselves and interpreted their signs. When that was done, we went to the other room next door again. There was a circle of chairs set up, and more people joined in. Then we sat down. It continued with the fact that everyone put an object in a bowl and a cloth was put over it. In addition, one person received a thick book with quotes related to life. Then the bowl was handed to us and we took out an object. The person who owned the item then had to say a page and a line. And this was then read out. This was also a kind of prediction of the future. In any case, quite interesting and funny things came out of it. When this was done, we talked altogether about our organization, the Euroklub, in order to give the people present there a more detailed insight into our tasks. We also talked about our German and English courses, which are very important for us, so that we can give people the opportunity to learn languages and we can do our work. Of course visitors are necessary for this. I, as a volunteer from Germany, could talk about myself and my situation and the cooperation with Germany. I also had the opportunity to speak with other people in Russian and to test my Russian. That was it then also thus been. The participants have then said goodbye with the time, and our working day was thus also done. At the end we just cleaned up everything and then said goodbye to each other.


Magic hour in the Euroklub to Vladimir

In the end I can say that I enjoyed the day very much. It was also a lot of fun to do a so-called fortune-telling, but I think you should still find other things to believe in. In any case, it was a very interesting experience for me. I also found it great to have had the opportunity to speak in Russian myself and to answer the questions of the people involved. Everyone present was very nice, which made for a very relaxed atmosphere. So all in all it was a very nice day for me. At this point I would like to thank the Euroklub, which made this day possible.

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Epiphany in Vladimir

The "Erasmus Plus – Program" brought Frederick Marthol from Erlangen to Vladimir in December, where he is now doing voluntary project work at the Euro-Klub together with Mathila Wenzel from Saalfeld, probably until April. Good prospects for regular readers of the blog, because the Pathfinder sends from time to time epistles, which are a real pleasure to read. These days now another missive was received in the editorial office:

The Russian "Epiphany", Epiphanias, is celebrated, as is well known, on the 19. and not as with us on 6. January celebrates. Peter has already provided some impressions of the cold-wet baptism in his article "Rein von aller Schuld": But also for the youth organization Euro-Klub this day was the occasion of an annual special event on the theme "Epiphany – Three Kings", because the traditional customs could not be more different in the two countries. After I myself found out about the cold mad bathing event, it was a matter of teaching the Russian pupils and students about the traditions and origins of Epiphany as we know it. Coincidentally, I was a "carol singer" in my elementary school days in the Erlangen center and could tell a little about this kind of holiday, which also met with great interest..


Frederick Marthol as interpreter of the epiphany

However, there is a completely different tradition on the Russian Epiphany Day: it is about learning a little bit about the personal future in the next year, in short, people try out different methods and practices of fortune telling. Be it randomly selected text passages from a book (in keeping with the style, Grimm’s fairy tales were used, of course) or the pouring of liquid wax into cold water (familiar to us on New Year’s Eve as "lead pouring"). There is interpretation and guesswork until a suitable future prediction for the coming year is found.


Frederick Marthol and Mathilda Wenzel

Hoping for the fulfillment of the visions of the future and full of new knowledge about Epiphany, everyone was able to take some things away from the day, including my colleague Mathilda from Saalfeld:

I found the fortune telling really exciting and also funny. It was cool not only to have learned about the traditions in Germany, but also to have learned something about the religious customs for this festival in this country. Also, it was interesting for me to see how many different methods there are for looking into the future when doing research in advance.

I am curious about the festivities that await me during my stay here, because after New Year’s Day the bar is set very high.

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