Traveling is the most beautiful thing to do in life. One of the reasons is given by the chance to meet new cultures. So as a traveler I learned also different traditions, as the Orthodox Christmas. I studied religion at school and I knew about the various habits, but to discover them directly is something more interesting. Going around Eastern Europe often I saw some celebrations and some people explain to me what they do for Christmas.
Orthodox and Greek Catholics celebrate their Christmas on 7th January. So with this post, I want just to say to all of them: Merry Christmas. With this article, I don’t want only to share my wishes in this important day, but also to explain something more about the Orthodox Christmas. Maybe some of you don’t know exactly why Christians have different Christmas traditions.
The origin of Orthodox Christmas
The difference between Catholics and Orthodox is mainly a matter of calendar. In fact, the first ones celebrate on 25th December, the second ones on 7th January. Most of the Christians in the world, also some Orthodox, are following the calendar made by Julius Caesar in 45 AD. This calendar was used by the church. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar that fixes the Christmas celebration on 7th January. The Russian Church recognizes the Orthodox Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar and since 1992 in Russia it is a national holiday.
Today is Christmas not only in Russia and also the Catholics with Greek rite have Christmas on 7th January. I have been few times to Ukraine and I had the chance to know better their tradition. The same happens in Serbia and around Balkans because they celebrate the Orthodox Christmas. The differences between the Orthodox and Catholic rites concern the calendar adoption. If some of you like to share something about this celebration, feel free to comment below. Maybe you can write traditional recipes for the Orthodox Christmas.