The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Community News Network

December 24, 2013

Expatriates try to adapt elements of home for Christmas

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Washington's Coptic Christians don't find it hard to stock up on holiday provisions: They celebrate Christmas with a 40-day fast. Some Copts, most of whom come to the area from Egypt, eat no food during the day; others cut out all meat and dairy products.

"You eat a lot of french fries," said Michael Meunier, an information technology specialist in Fairfax County who was born in Egypt. "At night, you can have a little wine. At least, I do."

At the end comes a massive feast in the wee hours after midnight mass Jan. 7, the traditional Coptic Christmas.

"It may be 3 a.m., but it's the biggest meal you want to see," said Meunier. "You can't wait for the next day."

Copts celebrate on Dec. 25th as well, Meunier said. On both Christmas Eves, his church, St. Mark Coptic Orthodox in Fairfax, Va., will hold mass in English, Arabic and Coptic. On both mornings, kids open presents.

"We tell our children, 'You are lucky. You get two Christmases,' " Meunier said. "The tree stays up and the gifts come back."

Cecilia Browning's children get no presents until they've eaten at least a bite of lutefisk, the gelatinous, pungent, lye-soaked whitefish that has come to mean Christmas to Swedes around the world. (Norwegians spell it lutefisk; Danes spell it ludfisk.)

Browning, who runs the House of Sweden cultural center in Washington's Georgetown area, orders her fish online. But there are abundant local shopping options for Swedish expats; Ikea sometimes carries Christmas hams. And Klaradal shop in Olney, Md. does a brisk December business in vanilla sugar, Marabou mork choklad and the spices for glögg, the Scandinavian winter drink of mulled wine and brandy.

Text Only
Community News Network
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee