What kind of holiday is this?
Christmas – January 7. It is an annual religious and cultural holiday that is one of the most important in the Christian calendar. Christmas is the holiday of the Incarnation, which means the appearance of God in human form. In many countries of the world, including Ukraine, Christmas is a public holiday and a day off. We are used to calling January 7 Orthodox Christmas, but this is not a completely accurate definition. On this day, Christmas is celebrated in six Orthodox churches – Ukrainian, Russian, Jerusalem, Polish, Serbian and Georgian. They are joined by the Greek-Catholic churches of Ukraine and Russia, a part of Protestants and the Athos monasteries living according to the Julian calendar.
How the idea of the celebration came about Christmas?
Our knowledge about the birth of Christ originates from the evangelists Matthew and Luke. The Savior was born in Bethlehem from the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit, and at the same time a new star rose in the sky. She was called Bethlehem, and it was she who showed the way to the newborn son of God to the wise men who brought their gifts to Christ.
After Christ completed his earthly life, his birth was not celebrated for a long time. For several centuries, Christian priests celebrated only the day of Resurrection, because they considered the transition to the Kingdom of Heaven to be a more significant event.
The first known in history Christmas celebration took place in the Roman Empire in 336. Christmas was finally approved as a holiday by the Third Ecumenical Council in 431.
Winter holidays of ancient ancestors
The date of Christ’s birth has not been documented by anyone, so there are different opinions on this matter. Most researchers agree that the decision to celebrate Christmas in winter arose from the desire of the Christian Church to replace the main pagan winter holidays with it.
In Rome, it was the Saturnalia – celebrations in honor of Saturn, the god of harvest and agriculture. The seven-day holiday had a tradition of feasts, gifts and some joyful disorder, because the laws were temporarily suspended. In the Scandinavian countries, the time of Christmas fell on the celebration of Yule – a period of rebirth of the sun, honoring the gods, a time of magical possibilities. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians also had similar holidays.
In Russia, the arrival of Christmas coincided with the beginning of the new agricultural year and the celebration of Kolyada. Together with the ritual sheaf – the grandfather – our ancestors brought the spirits of the family (grandfathers) into the home. On this holiday, one should forget grievances and correct mistakes. From the day of Kolyada, they started singing carols, and in the carols it was told about the creation of the world by the ancient Slavic gods. In the Middle Ages, together with the spread of Christianity, the celebration of Christmas also spread.
Introduction of Christianity
After the final introduction of the Christian faith, ancient customs were intertwined with Orthodox rites and new borrowed traditions. For example, the Christmas tree is a new attribute of the holiday compared to the grandfather. It came to us from European countries during the reign of Peter I.
We also borrowed from Europe the tradition of the nativity scene – a mobile puppet theater with a Christmas show. The nativity scene could also be with live actors playing biblical characters on the night of Christ’s birth.
Until Soviet times, Christmas in our country was one of the most important and favorite holidays. The Soviet authorities banned it as a religious practice. But people still celebrated the birth of Christ, risking even their freedom and life in the most difficult years.
No repressions could eradicate this holiday, and since Ukraine gained independence, Christmas has also gained its rightful place in the life of our people.
Christmas in history
525During the reign of Pope John I, the calendar from the Nativity of Christ was introduced.
567The Second Council of Tours recognized the days from Christmas to Epiphany (Baptism) as holidays.
1843The first Christmas card went on sale in London. In general, Christmas was the first holiday in honor of which postcards were issued.
1916The song “Shchedryk” by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich, which later became a world-famous Christmas composition, was played for the first time.
1927Celebrating Christmas was banned in the Soviet Union.
1991Christmas became an official holiday in independent Ukraine.
Frequent Questions and answers about Christmas
On holidays, it was necessary to attend church services, give alms, help the poor and sick, celebrate and have fun, but in moderation.
On these days, they did not go to weddings, did not fast, and also abstained from work, except for the most necessary household chores.
Lent begins on November 28 and ends in the first minutes of Christmas. It is also called Philippian, because its beginning comes after the day of St. Philip the Apostle.
Yes, there are. For example, the first guest in the house in the morning had to be a man – then the family will be accompanied by well-being and abundance throughout the year. They do not wear old clothes on the holiday – only new ones, and at the same time in light colors. Also, on Christmas Day, doors and windows are opened at midnight to bring happiness into the house.
On January 8, the Cathedral of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated – honoring the Mother of God. All women named Maria are also congratulated on this day.
Postcards for Christmas
👉 Section Postcards and greetings ➕ Postcards in Viber ➕ Postcards in Telegram
🎁 Christmas gifts
|Scheme for embroidery and beadwork “Christmas of Christ”|
|Christmas beadwork kit|
|Diamond embroidery, mosaic. The room before Christmas|
|The saints are coming. About Christmas and New Year’s traditions in the world|
|Christmas on Buzynova Street|
How to celebrate Christmas?
On the holiday of January 7, it is customary in Ukraine to visit church and bring gifts to visiting relatives. All the more so since it has long been customary to reconcile and forgive each other’s wrongs at Christmas.
It is also desirable to forget about the difference in social status and do good deeds. It is customary to bring gifts to orphanages for orphans, help people experiencing financial difficulties or make donations to charitable organizations during the Christmas holidays.
The Christmas fast is over, and therefore various fun entertainments, parties with music and dancing begin, and hearty meat, fish, dairy dishes and sweet desserts appear on the tables.
The hosts receive carolers who, with their singing, wish wealth and prosperity to the hospitable home. It is believed that carolers bring happiness for the whole next year, so the more they visit, the better.
For children, these are truly fabulous days – with a Christmas tree, gifts, carols, fun in a friendly company.
Divination remains an indispensable Christmas custom for young Ukrainian girls. Of course, most often fortune-telling is done on the fate of the condemned. There are divination that foretell prosperity and weather and predict whether the year will be fruitful.
It is customary to greet at Christmas with the words: “Christ is born”, greeting in return – “Let’s praise him!”. They finish celebrating Christmas with the coming of the Baptism holiday – January 18.
Why do we love this day?
Christmas is a holiday of family, love and comfort. It is joyful and bright, both children and adults are waiting for it. Adults are happy to feel like children visiting their parents, and children are happy for holidays, gifts and sweet treats. This holiday provides an opportunity for everyone to gather together and feel the unity of the generations of their kind.
When we buy gifts to Christmas, choosing them with love, for each member of the family – special, it is a great pleasure. Cooking Christmas dishes for the festive table fills the home with the wonderful aromas of winter spices – ginger, cinnamon and cardamom.
The fact that Christmas Day is a holiday also adds to the festive mood. You can spend it with pleasure, choosing activities to your taste. Visit or host relatives, take a walk around the city or just sit quietly in the family circle with a pleasant conversation and a Christmas movie.
Christmas creates memories that stay with us forever. It is a special state of mind when you want to give joy, share what you have, forgive and believe in a miracle. We believe, a little childishly, that the Christmas sky is open for our prayers and wishes.
When will we celebrate Christmas?