Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Holy Vigil

Did you think I had written my last Christmas post? Not so! Today is Christmas Eve in the Orthodox Church.

While Advent is a cheerful and even jolly time in the Western Church, working out the wonder of Christ’s birth, Russian Orthodox believers have been fasting. I don’t know what percentage of them actually follow this fast, but some of them adhere to the church standard, abstaining from certain foods even on New Year’s Eve.

Tonight, they have one more meal with restricted foods, and then have a Christmas feast the next day.

Christmas was widely celebrated in Russia before Communism, and most traditions have been forgotten by now. Here’s one description of how the celebration goes. But there are many variations.

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