Today is Christmas Eve, according to the Julian Calendar, which is a good time to post some photos of Christmases past from the Carpatho-Rusyn communities of Illinois and Indiana.
Both photos show Viflejemčiki or Jasličkári, traditional Rusyn Bethlehem singers. The tradition was brought from villages in the Carpathian homeland, where the costumed groups of young men would go from house to house, singing carols and performing brief plays.
The first is undated, and comes from Nativity of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church the coal mining town of Buckner, Ill., southeast of St. Louis, Mo., and comes to us thanks to Phil Chomiak.
Lying down in the photo are George Durkota and Frank Repak. Seated are Mike Beskidnek and Charles (Wasil) Spontak. Standing, with head-pieces and robes are John Bobiak, Myron Posypanko, Sam Grozik, and Steve Revak. Standing, back row, in suits, are George Orshak, Frank (Buck) Disko, and John Baligroski. The church was made by Mike Grozik.
Next is a faded image from the Holy Ghost Greek Catholic Church, located in Indiana Harbor, Ind.
I apologize for the quality of the photo, but it's a scan of a faded page from the 1936 Greek Catholic Union Kalendar.
The priest is identified as Rev. Irinij Dolhy. Parish council president Michael Primich is at left, and singing teacher Theodor Berezni is at the right.
None of the boys are identified.