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Moskauerin
28-09-2009, 21:49
Dear All,

I am currently reading a book of stories by Bernhard Schlink, a German writer, also author of the novel The Reader. I have an edition translated into Russian. In one of the stories there is a passage narrated by a young man who recalls how his birthday was celebrated in childhood.

He says a curious thing: when he was five, his parents invited five children as guests; when he was six - then six and so on. Is it some kind of a joke or irony? I am not sure however, because the context was quite serious. Or is it really some kind of tradition? If so, how is it justified? There is nothing like that here in Russia, although we sure enough have lots of other and sometimes even more unusual traditions.

A prize goes to the person who helps me to solve this riddle!

Bels
28-09-2009, 22:14
I don't know and making a guess here. So Russian tradition is that when for example you are six that you must have six guests on your birthday including yourself as the birthday boy or girl?

Is there also anything to do with the different calander in Russia where they haven't changed. Such as Christmas won't be the same date as other countries? Or that new years eve is the same here as it is in the rest of the world. Sorry I haven't had a chance to ask my Russian wife such questions yet as I am so confused. We know Russia has a different calander. YES!

Am I getting close?

alterego
28-09-2009, 22:15
I've never heard of such a tradition, but parents do limit the number of guests that their children can have. This is of course for practical reasons. It seems reasonable to me that when they are younger they would allow fewer guests as the younger ones need more attention. A rule that says you can have the number of guests that is equal to your age sounds like something that would be easily accepted by the children as well as also being a reasonable number. I don't think it is a tradition but probably more than one parent has come up with this rule in the past. If I had the whole text to read I might be able to discern something more.

Bels
28-09-2009, 22:51
I've never heard of such a tradition, but parents do limit the number of guests that their children can have. This is of course for practical reasons. It seems reasonable to me that when they are younger they would allow fewer guests as the younger ones need more attention. A rule that says you can have the number of guests that is equal to your age sounds like something that would be easily accepted by the children as well as also being a reasonable number. I don't think it is a tradition but probably more than one parent has come up with this rule in the past. If I had the whole text to read I might be able to discern something more.

Can you paste the whole text? As there is definately something missing somewhere.

Moskauerin
29-09-2009, 12:52
The explanation by alterego sounds reasonable. Thank you!

The text is in Russian, besides I don't have the book with me now. It wouldn't be of much help however as the text states just what I have written above. And Bels, I was speaking about a German tradition, not a Russian one :)