SILVER CREEK - Many today will be indulging in turkey, stuffing and other traditional holiday foods, but not all countries celebrate like Americans. One Silver Creek pastor shared his experiences from other countries' holiday traditions.
Rev. Thomas Burian, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Silver Creek, has lived in Hungary and Australia and currently resides in Silver Creek. He recently spoke of differences and similarities for traditions of giving thanks in the three countries. Burian was originally expelled from Hungary for smuggling and left in 1980.
"I was kicked out of Hungary because I was ... smuggling Bibles from Hungary to Romania," Burian said.
Rev. Thomas Burian
Burian spent 13 years in Australia and also spent time in Canada before coming to Silver Creek. The biggest difference between Australia and the United States is the weather for the holidays.
"Here everything with Thanksgiving is associated with the fall. In Australia, it is late spring and early summer," he said.
In Hungary, there are two celebrations of thanksgiv-ing that coincide with the harvest. The first is at the end of June that celebrates the harvesting of wheat. The celebration for harvesting of grapes comes in late September.
"The food in the June celebration are the foods celebrated that are freshly harvested," Burian said. "(September) is based around the harvest of grapes ... giving the wine for Holy Communion."
Burian said it was difficult to transition from having two celebrations in Hungary to one celebration in the United States and Australia.
"I needed to rethink for Thanksgiving because before Thanksgiving was specific to giving thanks for the new bread and the new wine. And here and in Australia, it becomes much more wider meaning for the whole year and for everything that is happening in our lives," he said.
The Hungarian traditions are centered around giving thanks for the suffering and sacrifice of Christ. Burian said he is "shocked" to see Christmas decorations up already.
"Without Thanksgiving there is no Christmas, I'm shocked to see the Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving," Burian said. "... in my sermons and ministry I'm trying to tell don't forget why Thanksgiving (is celebrated)."
Since a big part of the holiday is eating, Burian discussed the different foods among the three countries. In Australia, residents eat turkey but also a lot of seafood since the country surrounded by water. In Hungary during the June celebration, light summer food is typical. During September, the hunting season has begun so the food normally eaten is venison, boar or duck.
There may be differences among the three countries' celebrations, but there are also similarities. Those include the origins of the holiday being based in the Bible and centered around the harvest season.
"If we scratch the surface and go back to the origin, the world's view of them are very similar," he said.
Burian says he does not mix Hungarian and American traditions for Thanksgiving, but he does for Christmas. While Burian not have a country's tradition he likes to celebrate best, he says that all the traditions have deeper meaning.
"Each one of them gives a different and wonderful meaning. Experiencing all three different traditions has made it more deeper for me," Burian said.
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