This holiday is dedicated to the birth of Jesus Christ and is one of the main celebrations in the Christian religion. He is preceded by a forty-day Christmas post. Christmas 2020 will be proof that the traditions of our ancestors continue to live and multiply in Russia.
Events underlying the holiday
The canonical sources telling about those times are the Gospel of Matthew and Luke.
According to the first description (Matt. 1: 18-25):
"Caesar Augustus issued a decree on the census of all his citizens. According to him, all the inhabitants of the Roman lands were to attest to their presence in the places of their birth. Joseph, after whom the Virgin Mary was engaged, belonged to the family of David, and therefore they were forced to go to Bethlehem. When they arrived in the city of their ancestors, all the hotels were crowded, and they were forced to spend the night in a cave for livestock. Moreover, Mary had a suitable birth date for her child. It was on this night that the Firstborn appeared. She swaddled him and put him in a manger".
The Evangelist Luke described what happened next (Luke 2: 4-7):
"When the Savior was born, several angels appeared in front of the Bethlehem shepherds, who informed about the birth of a new King and Savior and that he is now in a cave. They immediately went to her to worship Christ (Lk 2, 1-21).
The Magi, who had long believed in the appearance of the Savior, learned about the birth of God's Son after the appearance of a new star in heaven. They also appeared before the baby with gifts in the form of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matt. 2: 1-3).
Gold served as a tribute, since they believed that their King was born. Frankincense showed that God appeared, and the incense quieter said that Jesus would die for all of us. Then all the dead were rubbed with this substance.
The news of the birth of a new King began to spread rapidly throughout the land of the Jews. The then King Herod did not want to have a competitor. He did not know where the baby Christ is and therefore ordered to destroy all children under 2 years old. However, Jesus managed to escape this fate, as the angel warned Joseph about the danger, and he transported the child to Egypt (Matthew 2:16)".
A similar picture is also described by apocryphal sources:
- "The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew";
- "The Gospel of Jacob."
In ancient times, the Jews, who were the first Christians, associated the birth of people with the beginning of "sorrows and pains." Then it was not customary to celebrate birthdays. In this regard, the date of Christmas was not perceived by the Jews as something special.
The most significant date they considered the time of the Resurrection of Jesus. Perhaps that is why until today, this day is the main holiday of Christians. Easter 2020 - will be a confirmation of this.
Gnostic heretics considered Jesus to be a simple person until the Holy Spirit descended upon him at baptism. It is the baptismal date for them that is fundamental to the perception of Jesus Christ as God. For the Feast of the Epiphany, the sixth day was chosen similarly to the date of the creation of Adam.
For the first time in the annals remembered Christmas in 354. On December 25th, Ancient Rome celebrated the Invincible Sun. A similar holiday was introduced by Aurelian in the year 274. Some historians believe that Christmas was introduced to the peak of this Roman celebration.
Since ancient times, the Annunciation was celebrated on March 25 (07.04.). In those days, the vernal equinox occurred on this date. It seems to remind us of the equivalence of the divine and human principles in Jesus Christ. If you add nine months to the date 25.03 - the gestational age, then it will turn out on December 25 (07.01). With the introduction of the Julian calendar on this number was the winter solstice. On this date, many pagan peoples honored the God of the Sun.
For Christians, Christmas is a symbol of light and truth. It is no coincidence that in the temples there was a custom to erect a Christmas tree with many lights.
It should be noted that the days of the vernal equinox and solstice, which were during the birth of traditions, no longer correspond to the 25th. Due to the inaccuracy of the Julian calendar, these dates have shifted, and natural phenomena correspond to other numbers:
|Winter solstice:||December 22, and in leap years December 21|
|The vernal equinox:||March 22, and in leap years March 21|
In the period from the second century to the fourth Christmas holiday fell on the sixth of January. In those days, triumph was called the Epiphany. Starting from the 4th century, the holiday is celebrated on December 25th.
After the transition of Russia in 1918 to the Gregorian calendar, this holiday began to be celebrated on 01/07, as the Russian Orthodox Church did not switch to the new calendar. Christmas was celebrated in the USSR until 1929.
After the holiday was banned. The customs followed a small part of the clergy and partly rural residents. In those years, there were frequent cases of persecution of believers.
Everything changed dramatically after the fall of the USSR and the disappearance of Soviet power. In 1991, a decree of the Government of Russia returned the holiday to the calendar of Russians.
Features of the church service
This holiday is the second most important in the Christian religion. The first place, of course, is Easter. Before these holidays, the Orthodox religion holds posts.
The order of worship is regulated by the Typicon, and the texts themselves can be seen in Minea.
The Christmas service is different from others in that the All-night Vigil contains supper, as on the eve of the Epiphany. Usually, at other twelve feasts, the Great Vespers sounds.
The Russian text of Troparia and Kondak for Christmas looks like this:
On a holiday among the Orthodox, a greeting is spread: "Christ was born!" To these words they answer: "Praise him!".
Christmas Post Diet
The post begins on 11/28 and continues until 01/07. During this period, the Orthodox do not eat food of animal origin.
Until 19.12, adhere to the following meal schedule:
|Monday:||hot vegetarian food without oil|
|Wednesday and Friday:||dry fruit: fresh vegetables, fruits and brown bread|
|Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday:||hot vegetarian food with butter and fish|
On the Feast of the Entry into the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you can eat fish, regardless of the day of the week.
Further, the post is tightened:
- After 19.12 and until 02.01, fish are allowed to eat only on weekends.
- In the period from 02.01 - 06.01, fish should not be consumed on all days. Hot food with butter can only be eaten on weekends.
- 06.01 - dry eating to the first star. Afterwards, you can try it succesfully: wheat boiled in honey or rice with raisins and other dried fruits.
Those who are going to receive communion during the night service should not eat before the Liturgy.
What dishes are possible for the New Year
Despite the fact that the Christmas post is not as strict as Great, it still requires certain skills in cooking. It is very difficult for an ordinary person to realize that it is possible to cook tasty from simple vegetables and fruits. It is important to find the right combination of products so that they complement each other and together are tasty and healthy. Here are a few options for delicious dishes that can be prepared not only on ordinary fasting days, but also, for example, on New Year's Eve. After all, it is no secret that many do not adhere to this post precisely because of the New Year holidays.
So, from ordinary vegetables and fruits you can cook:
Cabbage salad with apples
He is cooking very fast. Cabbage is chopped, apples are cut into small pieces, sugar, vinegar, vegetable oil are added and everything is mixed. You can also add onions, spices and herbs.
Cabbage Salad with Raisins and Rice
Salad is prepared similarly to the first, only boiled rice and steamed raisins are added.
Corn salad with onions
Canned or boiled corn is taken, blanched onions, sunflower oil, greens and black pepper are added and the salad is ready.
Root vegetables parsley with apples
Parsley roots and apples are cut into strips, mixed with onions, sliced rings. The mixture is seasoned with sunflower oil and lemon juice. You can add spices and herbs.
You can also cook quickly:
- fried bell peppers;
- salad with carrots and pickles;
- salad with carrots, beets, cabbage and onions.
From the second dishes you can cook:
- pike stuffed with rice;
- potato baked in batter;
- stuffed cabbage with rice;
- stuffed with fish and apples tomatoes.
You can even make dessert from vegetarian products:
Raisin Walnut Cake
This dessert is easy to make:
First, sugar with vegetable oil is ground, Then pitted raisins and chopped nuts are added. A mixture of apples and a little soda are added to this mixture. Everything is thoroughly mixed, after which they begin to add flour. Add cinnamon to the resulting dough and roll the cake. After that, heat the oven and put the product into it. An hour later, the cake is ready.
Believers begin to celebrate the holiday on January 6th. In the evening, when the first star appears in the sky, all members of the household gather at a common table to recall the events of more than 2000 years ago. Before the meal, everyone present tastes kuta. On this day, it is customary to serve 12 lean dishes on the table.
After a gala dinner, the faithful go to the temple worship service. There they witness the all-night vigil and the Christmas liturgy.
In some areas of our country, there is a tradition of godchildren visiting their second parents. Children are treated to godmother kutya, for which they receive gifts and money.
The tradition of caroling has been preserved in the villages. On Christmas Eve, young people dress up in different costumes and go around the yards to congratulate the owners on the holiday and wish them health and prosperity. For this, youth receives sweets and money. The main attribute of carols is the Star of Bethlehem, which is decorated with bright ribbons. In the center of her place a portrait of the Virgin Mary, who gave Jesus Christ to humanity.
In the morning of January 7, the holiday itself begins. The post ends and all kinds of dishes from meat, fish, milk and eggs appear on the table. After the conversation, the real fun begins. On this day, it is customary to visit relatives and close friends in order to honor our Lord God with them.
The festive atmosphere is observed in all settlements. A Christmas tree is set up on the main squares, around which festive events unfold. People have fun, sing ritual songs, perform round dances and participate in various celebrations.
The most famous attributes of Christmas are:
|Christmas tree:||without it, one cannot imagine Christmas. The first mention of the tree dates back to the eighth century. It is believed that the origin of this tradition is the monk Boniface, who first recognized the spruce - the tree of Christ. The tradition to put a Christmas tree in Russia was introduced by Peter the Great.|
|Christmas star:||reminds all people of the Star of Bethlehem, which announced the birth of Jesus Christ.|
|Nativity scene (nursery):||shows the scene of the birth of our Savior. For the first time this was clearly shown by Francis of Assisi and his brothers. Since then, in Catholic and Protestant countries such scenes have been held in temples, houses and public places. She once again shows us all that our God had a human being.|
|Christmas wreath:||first appeared in a Lutheran church. It is mainly woven of coniferous branches and decorated with ribbons. Initially, 4 candles were placed in it, which symbolized the weeks of fasting. With the advent of each week, one candle was lit. The fire of candles represents the light that came with the birth of Christ. Currently, such a wreath decorates the Christmas table. It is also hung on a wall or door. This tradition has recently come to Russia.|
|Christmas bells:||the tradition came from pagan times, when evil spirits were driven away. Today, the bell ringing of churches has a completely different purpose. In some countries, Christmas is greeted by the ringing of bells.|
|Christmas candles:||symbolize the victory of light over darkness. The tradition came from the days of paganism, when evil forces were expelled with the help of fire.|
|Christmas tree garlands:||changed candles, as they were fire hazardous. The idea of garlands belongs to the Englishman R. Morris|
|Christmas tree toys:||Previously, the Christmas tree was decorated with fruits, sweets and candles. After Germany learned to blow hollow glass balls out of glass, toys acquired the usual look for us.|
|Christmas cards:||appeared in England in 1843 thanks to the artist Horsley. With the development of mail, it became possible with the help of postcards to wish distant relatives and friends Merry Christmas.|
Christmas fortune telling
Among the traditions that have long been popular in Russia, mention should be made of Christmas fortune-telling. Usually, fortune telling begins on the night of January 6-7 and continues until Epiphany. The most widespread this occupation was among unmarried girls. They can’t wait to learn about their future life, about her husband, family and children.
The most popular are divination by candlelight, as well as by a narrow-minded, money, love, wealth and health.
The church does not welcome such hobbies of girls. It is believed that this tradition came to us from pagan times.
What should not be done at Christmas
As with all religious holidays, Christmas should not:
- do the laundry;
- clean the house;
- engage in heavy physical labor;
- Swear and quarrel;
- talk badly about others, etc.
Christmas beliefs and signs
- If at Christmas the first guest is a woman, then the family will fail.
- On Christmas Eve there should be at least 12 fasting dishes on the table.
- When laying the Christmas table, it is necessary to provide cutlery for deceased family members;
- Losing something on a holiday means loss, and a find - to profit and well-being.
- Warm Christmas weather in late and cold spring.
- Starry Christmas night for a fruitful year.