[the timing for Christmas]

[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?

  • I honestly don’t care when it is… I don’t come anywhere near believing that Dec. 25 was the birth of Jesus. Lots of fussing over this, but could more reasonably have been April 1. I don’t do a lot any more…give very little. Usually have a purpose, rather than just feeling forced to give to keep people happy. And I’m glad other places can serve the Lord and honor Him… date doesn’t matter.

    • True – I gave up the notion of it being on December 25th / January 7th a long time ago (since the date easily could’ve been a syncretism thingie where the exact date was used only to transform a pagan holiday into a Christian one… which is often a case with Orthodoxy over here, so it won’t be surprising.) I guess I treat Christmas as a universal flash mob when everyone comes together and does the same stuff…

      • I’ve studied a fair amount of history, spiritually speaking, and what you said about fitting it into the paganism is so true. Maybe the leadership heart was in a good place– just wanting to draw the pagans into the Lord more easily, etc. — but so often “we” make decisions that can affect what’s coming down line for centuries. Nearly 40 years ago, I attended an AoG church in California and the pastor referred to Easter as Resurrection Sunday, refusing to use the “common” term. I bought into that, believe me. Have a very hard time saying “Easter”…. feel like choking … but sometimes that’s the only option. [I also don’t do eggs and bunny things.] I know it’s controversial re: whether it’s goddess-named to bring peace or just a language term. I guess not much different than having our days named after gods and goddesses and we walk through them in freedom. So, we live, and move, and have our being… and serve our Lord, no matter what these details are. And serving Him is all that counts. Blessings.

        • Heh, the tradition over here is even more odd. There is a traditional bread (called Paskha – the name for the bread as well as the name for the also comes from Hebrew’s Peisakh) which everyone bakes / buys for Easter. The “Orthodox” tradition is that the bread symbolizes getting out of Egypt, enjoying sweet bread with yeast, etc. The other element is also colorful eggs – so called pysanky. The original roots for the bread and eggs is also from worshiping the goddess of fertility. The bread is narrow and tall, and eggs are usually placed around it. I guess you will be able to imagine what it symbolizes… So yes – I am not into that kind of “traditions.”

  • Thanks for sharing your “tradition” with us Zee. I always find it interesting to hear about others. I have not given it any thought to be honest. I know we exchange gifts here but we don’t go overboard since we don’t have a lot of extra money. I save all year and when it is gone it is gone. I like the idea of your way though. Sounds sort of cool. Hope you have a good New Year’s day and a meaningful christmas. đŸ™‚

    • I also find it interesting to learn about other traditions. For example, just last Monday I found out that if Christmas morning falls on a Sunday (like this year), a lot of people don’t go to Church and stay home instead, with their families. For me, it was weird to hear, because I got so used to the fact that on Christmas morning, ESPECIALLY if it’s on Sunday, we all go to Church.

  • Mary

    Having just looked on the Internet about the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, it all sounds very complicated. I’m all for variety – if some people want to stick to the Julian Calendar, so be it. Mind you, Zee, I thought you were an early adopter of all things new! This new fangled Gregorian Calendar has been around for quite a while… And, by the way, I do not like “Timeline” at all and won’t be adopting it myself if I can avoid it.

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