Monday, January 25, 2010

The Jubilee

It's been 300 years of Romanov rule in Russia.We started celebrating right away in the New Year, after coming back from Spala in Poland. After a short while at Tsarskoe Selo, where we feel most at home, we had to go to St. Petersburg and stay at the Winter Palace. It's all right in the winter, but there isn't much of a garden to play in.

Everything started with a very long church service in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan. It's a beautiful church, and it was full to the brim. Everyone was standing shoulder to shoulder, and when it was time to kneel, you could see people having to apologize to each other as they bumped elbows and knees. I wasn't supposed to be paying attention, but it struck me as rather funny. Here is the famous icon of The Lady of Kazan:

In the middle of the service, I noticed Papa looking up at the ceiling and I didn't know why. Then Alexei looked, and I had to do the same. It was the most wonderful thing! Two white doves were floating over their heads, like a message from God. It was wonderful. Perhaps he was blessing our family for 300 years of rule.

After that, we had lots of receptions and parties at the Winter Palace. I especially enjoyed watching from above. Everyone came in traditional, national dress. Even Mama was wearing the kokoshnik, a traditional headdress. We wore simple white gowns with the order of Catherine the Great. Madame Zanotti gave us the diamond stars to pin on the red ribbons right before we went to greet the guests.

Greeting the guests was tedious, I have to say. We stood for hours. But there were so many people who came to pay their respects, I really don't mind. It seems very little to endure. I only felt sorry for Mama, who tires very easily. Alexei didn't stand with us. He was carried through the crowd, since he hadn't completely recovered from his last illness, and went back to his room completely exhausted. As for me, I could stand for hours, if only I was allowed to jump up and down every once in a while! Here's what the throne room looks like at the Winter Palace:

I'll tell you more about the jubilee tomorrow!

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