How Orthodox Christians Celebrate Christmas
Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, which is 13 days after the Western Christian Christmas Day of December 25th. This is because the Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar that is used by most of the Western world.
The celebration of Christmas in the Orthodox Church is a very solemn and holy event. It begins with the Nativity Fast, which is a 40-day period of fasting and prayer that begins on November 15th and ends on Christmas Eve. During this time, Orthodox Christians abstain from certain foods and focus on spiritual preparation for the coming of Christ.
On Christmas Eve, Orthodox Christians attend a special service known as the Royal Hours. This service includes special readings from the Bible and prayers for the coming of the Messiah. After the service, a festive meal is shared with family and friends.
On Christmas Day, Orthodox Christians attend the Divine Liturgy, which is a special Mass that celebrates the birth of Jesus. After the service, there is a festive meal that includes traditional dishes such as kutia (a sweet wheat porridge), borscht (a beet soup), and paska (a sweet bread).
Finally, on the day after Christmas, Orthodox Christians celebrate the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. This is a day of remembrance and prayer for all those who have died in the faith.
Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas with great joy and reverence, and the celebration lasts for several days. It is a time of spiritual renewal and joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.