Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Its over - nearly !

Well all around the world Christmas and New Year celebrations are over for another year - well almost !

Here in Riga we look forward to Christmas again this weekend, along with all of the others who share the Orthordox religion be they Greek or Russian.

The Gregorian Calendar is a revision of the Julian Calendar which was instituted in a papal bull by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The reason for the calendar change was to correct for drift in the dates of signifigant religious observations (primarily Easter) and to prevent further drift in the dates

The first day of the Russian Christmas comes not from a Gregorian calendar but, from the Julian calendar thus coming 13 days after 25 December the date used by most of the world.

So there we are - Give a Pope a piece of paper ( a bit like giving a politician a map and a pencil - think Northern Ireland ) and he comes up with a new calander -and thereby changes everybody's birthday including that of J.C. - Miraculous !!

However the upside of all of this, is that the Christmas decorations in Riga stay up for an extra two weeks - but no extra holidays !!

One of the more unique features of Winters in Riga is how walking habbits changes. Normally we stride about, but come winter we move into the Riga shuffle mode. This involves not lifting your feet from the pavement but simply shuffling your way along. This technique limits the probability of falling over on the snowy / icy pavements - despite the best endeavours of the "sweeper uppers" who are out there every day clearing the snow from the pavements.

Another trait is that most Latvians will walk ieither on the roadside edge of the pavement or in the middle of the road - the reason ? - to avoid being hit by snow / icicles falling from the roof tops during a thawing out period.

Received a note from J.... (Australian - plays with wood) he tells me it is 40 degrees in Ausie Land, well hear in Riga the forecast is for -11 degrees over the weekend, but back to 0 degrees on Monday - weird weather.


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