Your home says a lot about you, whether you like it or not. It doesn’t tell your full story, to be sure, but we are an incarnational species — we represent spiritual realities by how we arrange and care for our physical environment.
We love the beautiful symbolism behind the traditional Russian hut of folk tales and old villages. Let’s dig deeper to uncover what these huts mean and how they represent the genuineness of the Russian people. This is all the more important since the war between Russia and Ukraine may make us forget how many good Russians there are. We can’t judge them all by their leader.
The Three Parts of the Traditional Russian Hut
Russians love things that come in threes. This partly stems from the emphasis on the number three in Christianity. God is a Trinity. The liturgy makes use of threes in prayers and physical gestures.
The three parts of the Russian home represent the manner in which many Russians approach strangers. Many Americans who go to Russia complain that Russians treat them coldly. This creates a perception that Russians are not friendly.
But looking at the three parts of the Russian hut helps dispel this myth. The first part of the hut is the entrance, which is very cold in winter. This is where you place everything that you’re not worried about freezing.
You have to earn the Russian’s trust to make it beyond the cold entrance to the second part of the hut—the main dwelling room. As you move farther into the house, you are comforted by the warmth of the hearth, and you may be given a hot meal.
The hearth itself is the third part. It’s not in the center of the hut but along a wall. In old huts, it sometimes had a ledge topped by a bed. As this was the warmest part of the home, it was an honor to sleep here.
As you get to know Russians, you’ll find them to be some of the most genuine, caring people you’ll ever meet.
There’s something to be said for this slow approach to welcoming strangers. Some Russians think American friendliness is superficial. They may be right. We wave to our neighbors down the street, but we often leave it at that.
Let’s try to be more genuine and realize that real connection is more than being nice. Not everyone should be allowed within the hearth of our hearts. For those we do let in, let’s move beyond superficial niceties and set ablaze the hearth of friendship and warmth.