To call this a religious holiday Catholic or Orthodox is wrong
December 25 Christmas is celebrated not only Catholics, but Orthodox Christians in many countries, Lutheran and other Protestant denominations.
It’s all in the calendar – some celebrate this day on the old model (according to the Julian calendar) – January 7, others in a new way, where the date falls on December 25 (Gregorian calendar). However, there are some differences in the traditions of Christmas celebration for Catholics and Orthodox, writes KP.
Jesus Christ according to the gospel, was born in the Judean town of Bethlehem during the reign of Augustus. At that moment, the sky shone the star of Bethlehem.
Tradition to make and decorate a Christmas tree the star of Bethlehem came from those ancient times. But to mark this event as the feast began much later. The first mention of the feast of the Nativity dates from the fourth century.
In the Eastern and Western churches until the fourth century the Nativity of Christ, which were connected with the feast of the Epiphany, celebrated January 6, and referred to him as a Theophany.
The difference in dates of celebration occurred after the conduct of the Roman Catholic Church in 1582 calendar reform, which was not recognized by the Orthodox Church.
A Catholic Church, but not all, switched to the Gregorian calendar in which Christmas falls on December 25. But many Orthodox believers remained “faithful” to the Julian calendar, where the date of Christ’s birth is 7 January.
Therefore the 25th of December cannot be called “Catholic” as January 7 – “Orthodox”. But we decided to tell the readers about the differences in the traditions of celebrating this day.
Christmas is celebrated on the night – Catholics from 24 to 25 December, the Orthodox – from 6 to 7 January. In the first embodiment is referred to as – the Christmas Eve, the second Holy night.
In the Orthodox tradition the celebration of Christmas is preceded by 40 days of fasting. The most severe fasting in the Holy night – not recommended to take food before sunrise the first, the Bethlehem star. And dinner January 6, begins with kutya is the main dish in a meatless Christmas menu. All of these dishes, according to popular belief, the table should be 12, and all lean.
But the Catholics of strict fasting is not – the period of abstention, including food, before the holiday is not required. But before Christmas there is a period of repentance that lasts 4 weeks of advent. At this time, believers confess, receive Holy communion, pray.
Definitely on Christmas Eve, all Catholics go to worship in the Church and eat on this day, they only sochivo – wheat or barley, boiled in water and seasoned with honey. Sit at the table in the same way as Orthodox the appearance of the first stars in the sky. And then the whole family shares communion wafers – slices of fresh bread with a figured pattern, they symbolize the body of Christ. Take a piece of the wafer, the one to whom it is presented, speaks good wishes.
According to popular tradition, the Catholics on the table, too, should stand on 12 meatless dishes.
The generally accepted tradition of decorating home for Christmas in the Orthodox – no. But in Ukraine, one of main Christmas ornaments is a Didukh – a sheaf of stalks of oats, wheat, rye, and flax, remaining after mowing. It is during the week in the corner under the icons.
Christmas gifts from the Orthodox also are not provided – or exchange them in the New year, or St. Nicholas Day.
But the Catholics are a little different tradition. First, the house for Christmas, decorated carefully with manger figures baby Jesus and the virgin Mary and straw. Definitely by 24 December is already a festive tree, and somewhere near the ceiling – the mistletoe. Also on the table – coniferous wreath with candles.
Secondly, that on Christmas night Santa Claus, the prototype of which is Saint Nicholas, brings gifts and puts them in a specially prepared socks.
Christmas dinner does not consist of a fat goose with apples or a huge Turkey. As usual on Christmas eve, on the table there are only Lenten dishes. But the goose with the Turkey appears on the the meal on December 25. In fact, as the Orthodox – January 7, the table is served with various meat dishes. The post ended.
Interestingly, for the Christmas table for Catholics, there is always one empty space: whoever comes to the house – will be cherished and honoured.