How to Celebrate Christmas For the Orthodox Church
If you are an Orthodox Christian, you are likely wondering how you should celebrate Christmas Day in the Orthodox church. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can take to make the most of your Christmas Day in the Orthodox Church. First, you should attend an Orthodox Christmas service. This way, you can experience the traditional Christmas food and holiday traditions.
Traditions of Christmas for the orthodox church are different from those of the Western church. Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas with the celebration of the Great Covenant, Matins and Liturgy. They also light candles to commemorate Jesus’ birth as the Light of the world. The food associated with the season depends on the location and culture. While meat and poultry are generally served on Christmas, there are also many lean dishes associated with the holiday.
Christmas dinner is a time for family and friends to gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Orthodox Christians usually decorate the table with a white table cloth, symbolizing the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in when He was born. Before the meal, a prayer is recited. Guests are then welcomed with a greeting of ‘Christ is born!’ The response is ‘Glory to God!’
Christmas customs for the Orthodox church are different from those of Western Christianity, but their core message is the same: love and hope. Christmas is a time to renew relationships, serve others, and be kind to strangers. Orthodox Christians also use Christmas as a time to focus on personal growth.
Orthodox churches follow different calendars to mark Christmas. Some celebrate it on January 7, while others celebrate it on December 25. This difference causes the observance of Christmas to differ from country to country. The traditional Orthodox Christmas is much different than the commercialized Christmas of today. Instead, Orthodox Christians celebrate Christ’s birth by giving themselves a period of self reflection, prayer, and healing.
The food tradition associated with Christmas Eve is one that has survived in Orthodox churches. A dinner with both bitter and sweet dishes is served to symbolize the life of Christ before his birth and the life of his disciples afterward. The meal concludes with the observance of the Christmas Eve vigil.
The traditional food for this celebration varies, depending on the region. Russians, for example, eat sochivo, a dish containing grains and lentils. It is similar to the kasha dish. Other regions where this meal is eaten include Ukraine, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria.
The dates for Christmas for the Orthodox Church vary slightly from the Catholic church. This is because the two denominations use different calendars to determine the date of the holiday. Some use the Julian calendar, while others prefer the Gregorian calendar. Although these two calendars are similar, the dates for Christmas for the two main Christian denominations vary by about a week.
The Julian calendar, which predates the Gregorian calendar, is used in the Orthodox Church. Both of these calendars celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The Gregorian calendar is more closely aligned with the solar calendar. The Gregorian calendar is used by the Orthodox Church in the United States.
Liturgy of the Nativity of Christ
The Orthodox Church celebrates the Liturgy of the Nativity of the Christ on Christmas Eve and on Christmas day. The Nativity Canon is the first hymn in the liturgy of Christmas and is the opening song at Matins on December 24 and major Vigil Services during Advent. The Nativity sermon, a sermon on Christ’s birth, is a popular part of Orthodox Christmas.
During the Liturgy of the Nativity, psalms of praise and glorification are sung. After that, the Nativity icon is venerated. The Liturgy of the Nativity is the main part of the Christmas celebration in the Orthodox Church.
The feast of Epiphany is a unique opportunity to highlight the saving mission of Christ, particularly his incarnation into the world. This event is a major part of the Christian calendar and is marked by two feast days: the eve of the feast and the day itself. It is traditionally observed once a year in parish churches. It begins with a special hymn and the censing of water. The water symbolizes God’s original creation and Christ’s glorification in the Kingdom of God.
The Orthodox Church celebrates Epiphany on 6 January, a day that began in 200 AD in the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire. The feast was originally held in memory of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. However, Western European Christians began associating it with the visit of the Magi. This practice has led many to refer to Epiphany as “Small Christmas.”
The liturgical cycle for Christmas for the Orthodox church consists of two major parts, the proclamation of the Word and the Christmas eve fast. The former gives the impression of great solemnity and is replete with Word of God. The latter is embellished with musical masterpieces.
The first part of the celebration is called Matins, which is the first part of the Christmas eve service. During this time, the full Canon of “Christ is born” is sung, and the faithful venerate a Nativity icon. Following this, the Nativity Liturgy begins. This service begins with psalms of praise and glorification, and the Book of Gospels is read. The baptismal line of Galatians 3:27 is read during the liturgy.