On Sunday, Eastern Orthodox Christians around the state celebrated Christmas. In the days following Christmas, many celebrate the holiday by bringing brightly decorated stars from house to house for a caroling tradition called ‘slavii.’
Eastern Orthodox churches across Alaska celebrated Christmas on Sunday, following the old Julian calendar. One of the holiday’s most visually striking traditions in Alaska is “slavii.” Carolers bring spinning stars made of cardboard and tinsel from home to home, singing in Yup’ik, English and Slavonic. The Dillingham, Aleknagik, Portage Creek and Ekuk stars all began their journeys at St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church in Dillingham on Sunday. Some elders in the Bristol Bay area still remember when singers travelled for slavii by dog sled. These days carolers travel to nearby villages by snow machine, weather permitting. The celebration and the caroling will continue through January 13.