My First Taste of Christmas at McDonald’s in Geneva by Dr Gulara Vincent | Day 6 | Advent Calendar 2016

Advent Calendar 2016

Day 6 | Advent Calendar

My First Taste of Christmas at McDonald’s in Geneva by Dr Gulara Vincent

‘Let’s go to Geneva for Christmas,’ my friend said.

It was late autumn 2004 and we were taking French classes. As our vocabulary was expanding, my friend had a bright idea of putting that knowledge into practice.

‘Why not France?’ Continue reading “My First Taste of Christmas at McDonald’s in Geneva by Dr Gulara Vincent | Day 6 | Advent Calendar 2016”

Discovering Traditions: Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent

Discovering Tradition

The 21st of March marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. Today, I am happy to welcome back Gulara Vincent for this lovely guest contribution to Discovering Traditions, you can find her previous guest post here, and an overview of this blog’s guest posts here.


Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent

Novruz is the spring festival dearly loved and widely celebrated in Azerbaijan (and many other countries too). When I was a child, it was not an official holiday. The Soviet Union disapproved of my country’s fire-worshipping and pagan festivities. People kept it going for seven decades though. In 1993, it became an official holiday in a newly-independent Azerbaijan.

Although Novruz is celebrated on 20-21 March, the spring festival begins a month in advance. First, all households had a massive spring clearing. We washed everything: bedding, windows, walls, expensive dishes displayed in cupboards, candelabras and floors. We also cleared rugs and carpets, mended clothes and made or bought new ones. New trees were planted and gardens were tidied up. Families visited their dead relatives’ graveyards to pay their respects. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent”

Discovering Traditions: New Year’s Eve Celebration Soviet Style by Dr Gulara Vincent

Discovering Tradition

At the last day of this year 2015 I would like to welcome back Dr Gulara Vincent with the inurgal post for the Discovering Traditions guest series. You can find her first guest post on my blog here.

New Year’s Eve Celebration Soviet Style by Dr Gulara Vincent

As a child, I used to love the 1st of December. Not because there was some special festival on that day. But we were finally in December! That meant there were only 30 days before New Year’s Eve. I counted down the days to the celebration (why did time go so slow back then?). To make the wait bearable, I bought cards and wrote careful unimaginative messages to my family members. I also bought ‘khlopushkas’, poppers sold as tubes full of confetti. You had to pull a string and there was a pop with confetti scattering everywhere. Some tubes even contained a small toy or a carefully folded paper mask. I hated the pop it made, so I often made a hole on the top of a tube and took the contents out. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: New Year’s Eve Celebration Soviet Style by Dr Gulara Vincent”

Advent Calendar Day 2: My First Christmas at the Age of 31 by Dr Gulara Vincent

for Solveig
Image courtesy of domdeen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My First Christmas at the Age of 31 by Dr Gulara Vincent

As I stood by the door waiting for the train to stop, a large backpack pulled my right shoulder down. I wondered whether my host was already at the train station.

I was invited to spend Christmas with E’s family. She was one of my lecturers when I studied for my Master’s degree, and was now the internal examiner for my PhD thesis. As all public transport stopped operating from the evening of 24 December until 27 December, I was due to stay with her family for three nights. Continue reading “Advent Calendar Day 2: My First Christmas at the Age of 31 by Dr Gulara Vincent”