07 January 2018
While Western Christian churches use the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Christian churches continue to use the Julian calendar, which preceded it. According to the Julian calendar Christmas Day should be celebrated on 7 January each year. Celebrations are fairly similar to the Christmas of Western Christianity. The period is preceded with a forty-day period when people abstain from foods such as meat. Fasting culminates on Christmas Eve when a special dinner takes place, often comprised of twelve dishes to represent the twelve apostles. Feasting continues on Christmas Day.
The houses and churches of Orthodox Christians are often decorated with a Nativity scene. Many Orthodox countries have their own particular Christmas customs and traditions. In Ethiopia, Orthodox Christians wear white clothing to attend special church services, whilst in Serbia families set out into the forest to find a suitable oak branch to decorate their homes. For more information about the Orthodox Christmas Day please click here