10 hours ago
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Merry Orthodox Christmas!
If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you've heard this before, but I thought I'd repeat it for those who may be new readers...
Today is Christmas for the Eastern Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian calendar rather than the more-commonly used Gregorian calendar. (Read this for more info than you ever want to know about the calendars.)
This day is often confused with Epiphany, which was celebrated yesterday, January 6th, by Christian churches that follow the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Christmas has nothing to do with that date -- Epiphany on the Julian calendar will be on January 19th.
When I was growing up, I considered myself to be quite a lucky child because I had two Christmases. My family celebrated December 25th as the "fun" Christmas with Santa, presents, etc. (they didn't want me to feel left out from the rest of my friends who were celebrating then). The religious and "serious" Christmas came on January 7th, which meant going to church and food and family (and some presents again...yippee!). My parents even insisted that I stay home from school on that day (it was always interesting trying to explain to the teachers why my Christmas was different than everyone else's...)
My son was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church and my husband (who grew up as a Lutheran) and I have continued the tradition of celebrating two Christmases. Our tree and decorations don't come down until after the 7th and our son still gets a present or two today.
So to all my fellow Orthodox Christians who celebrate today...Merry Christmas!
(the photo is of a stitching project my son made in second grade...14 years ago!)