15.01.16 : A St Leonards Russian Christmas

The spot of snow we have recently encountered has got us 'thinking Christmas' - do you know it was not that long ago since our Russian students celebrated this holiday?  As the Russian Church follows a different calendar, their Christmas Day fell on the 7 January this year.  As term had already begun, this meant a castle celebration in Scotland would simply have to do!

Last week, some Year 11 and Sixth Form students from St Petersburg, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Kiev, Minsk, Voronezh and Vladimir travelled to Fingask Castle for a Russian Orthodox mass service in the chapel, followed by a Christmas candlelit lunch and a tour of the beautiful and grand seventeenth century Scottish castle.

It was a Christmas feast with a ‘Scottish twist’.  Haggis and tatties were served, as well as the traditional Russian Christmas dish ‘Kytia’.

Special guest Richard Demarco also joined the students for lunch.  The renowned Scottish Artist and promoter of visual and performing arts is currently organizing an exhibition for the Edinburgh Art Festival about Russian Scottish connections, to commemorate 200 years since Nicolas I came to Scotland in the hope to westernise Russia.  This might well have to be the next Russian themed trip!

This pilgrimage to Fingask is quickly becoming a St Leonards tradition and the students hope that this will long continue. ‘One pupil commented, The Spirit of the castle is amazing: it’s warm, welcoming and feels like a real home’.  Students wanted to stay but school must go on!  Until next year…!

Thank you to Helen Molchanoff and Andrew Threipland for extending the invitation.  We will definitely be back!

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