Fabulous Slavic Christmas Traditions

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24.12.2021

If you want to learn some cultural background of your Slavic girlfriend, go through a few lines about Christmas. It’s the most significant Winter holiday, probably second after New Year’s. Despite their religious preferences, Slavic people celebrate Christmas following ancient traditions.

Some Christmas customs of Pagan origin have been adopted by the Orthodox Church. These roots so stiff to hold the shape got transformed by Christianity into their own heritage. Familiarise with some of the fundamental hence yet alive traditions.

Divine Liturgy

The Orthodox Church reckons Christmas to be the second most relevant holiday after Easter. Nativity Fast is undertaken for forty days, from November 28 to January 6th, when the first star appears as a symbol of Christ's birth. On the night of January 6th Christians visit the church and pray all night long.   

Festive Dinner

After the Christmas Eve service, believers come home to break the fast by enjoying a family dinner. Among others, the festive menu consists of kutia (wheat berry pudding with poppy seeds and raisins sweetened with milk and honey); kulebyaka (a  yeast dough pie stuffed with layers of cabbage or mushrooms); and uzvar (sweet non-alcoholic beverage made of dried fruit and honey).  

Svyatki

“Svyatki” (“holy days”) carry on for twelve days, from January 6th to January 19th, from   Christmas Eve to the Epiphany. The time used by Slavic people to predict the weather and their own future (especially for females). Paganism leaned on anthropomorphizing spirits, thus, the ritual may vary from melting candle wax to reading ashes patterns and candlelight shadows. 

Caroling

After the Christmas dinner, children often go caroling from house to house paying a holiday visit to all relatives and friends nearby. They sing Christmas carols a cappella, wishing Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. The customary reward they get is cookies and candies, but elders would prefer money instead.

Now you have better odds to find common ground with your beautiful Slavic lady, don’t you? By the way, the candlelight shadow took the shape of a lonesome cowboy galloping in deep snow. Wonder who could that be? 

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