[the timing for Christmas]
Considering that I seem to have more friends on the other side of the pond (or in other European countries) than here in CIS, I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen Christmas-related stuff this weekend on Twitter / Facebook / e-mail / etc.
While in our Church we have a dinner on December 25th usually, the “official” Christmas celebration is on January 7th. This tradition is observed because Ukraine is officially an Orthodox country and the religious calendar used is Julian calendar (as opposed to generally accepted Gregorian.)
As I was reading numerous updates and clicking through a ton of opening-gifts pictures, I decided that I actually prefer our way.
Over here, due to long Communistic rule, there was no Christmas for quite some time. Always winter, never Christmas – that sort of describes that time. As a result, the main celebration of the year was New Year’s Day. The Christmas tree over here is actually called New Year’s tree and we exchange gifts on New Year’s eve. Christmas, which is now celebrated, comes a week later.
The reason I like it more?
New Year celebration takes care of the material stuff – giving out presents, cooking as if you were planning on eating non-stop for the next two weeks, staying up all night, and enjoying a long morning sleep.
So, when Christmas comes around, you are free to focus on the spiritual. Running a risk of being called Capt. Obvious – Christmas is all about Christ. It’s His birthday, not just a day when we can all sit together and unwrap gifts (yes, we can justify it by saying that on this day God gave us the best gift ever – His Son, but c’mon – how often do you think of Christ while you are unwrapping your new shiny coffeemaker or a pair of holiday socks?)
What do you think about that? Would you still prefer having Christmas on 25th with presents and everything and the New Year afterwards, or do it the way it’s done over here?