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Christmas Eve | 7 Traditions and Customs

Christmas enjoys a special preparation on the day before Christmas, known as Christmas Eve. From setting the table on Christmas Eve to preparing the pretzels and cakes and decorating the tree. All these customs are handed down from year to year, from generation to generation. Especially in the villages where traditions are best kept.

Christmas Eve is the last fast day of Lent. This fast, which begins on 15 November and ends on 24 December, reminds us of the patriarchs and righteous men of the Old Testament, who spent a long time in fasting and prayer awaiting the coming of the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

On Christmas Eve, housewives prepare pretzels, and colors (which, in the folk tradition, must recall the wrapping of a hand with outstretched fingers belonging to the Christmas lady, who helped the Mother of God at the birth of the child and whose hands were cut off). The tails are ready for the carolers who will come to greet at the houses of the households. The pretzels are given to the children’s carolers, the kolaches are for the more numerous carolers, and the kulaks will belong to the lads and the carolers from the gentiles, according to Agerpres.

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What is Christmas Eve?

A superstition teaches us that on Christmas night we should not open the door to anyone, because our luck will fly out of the house. A custom in many parts of the country is that on Christmas Eve, the priest and church singers carry an icon of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Eve, in popular tradition, is the end-of-year celebration patronized by Santa Claus. He is said to have been a twin brother of Santa Claus, as they resemble each other like two peas in a pod.

Santa Claus is also known to have been the last of the apostles. He is also the one who commanded that the boys be given kale, that they go caroling and that they be given flowers from their parents.

Read more: Do Christians celebrate St Nicholas?

What are people doing on Christmas Eve?

If the first 39 days of this fast are lighter, from a food point of view, between them there are several days in which the Church Fathers have ordered “disobedience to fish”, the fortieth day of fasting is one of hard fasting, fasting. The custom of fasting on this last day of Lent has been recorded since the 4th century.

On the night of Christmas Eve, believers used to eat sweet food, popularly called “Jesus’ chalices”. With flour, water, and salt, thin sticks are kneaded and baked on the stove. They are soaked in a sweet syrup (water with honey or sugar) and sprinkled with ground walnuts.

Thus, on Christmas Eve, each believer fasts according to his or her strength until the ninth hour (15.00), eating nothing. In some areas, the faithful fast until later, waiting for the evening light to rise, in memory of the star that announced the birth of the Lord to the Magi.

Read more: Why do we celebrate Lammas?

Christmas Eve is known as the Nativity of Jesus. Which is announced to the world by Christians through carols, the first to start caroling on Christmas Eve morning being children and young people. They are welcomed by Christians with apples, nuts, pretzels, and those cakes called “Christ’s Diapers”. Because there is still fasting until after the Holy Mass on Christmas Day, carolers must also be welcomed with fasting gifts (bagels, cakes, nuts, fruit).

Each priest proclaims the Nativity in his parish. Depending on the size of the parish, the priest may start carrying the icon sooner or later. Thus, in villages, this proclamation takes place on Christmas Eve, while in towns, where parishes are larger and the faithful more numerous, priests start carrying the icon a little earlier.

Read more: How is God described in the Old Testament?

What is the connection between the Virgin Mary and Santa Claus?

After Christmas Eve, three days in a row, in all the churches the Holy Mass is celebrated. Because of the joy of the great feast of the Nativity of the Lord, it has been ordained that between Christmas and Epiphany there should be no kneeling and bowing. An exception to this is the canons received from the confessor, celebrated in the silence of each person’s room.

According to tradition, the Virgin Mary, about to give birth, asks Santa Claus for shelter. The latter, because he is a poor man, refuses her, directing her to his richer brother, Santa Claus. Santa Claus owned the stable where Joseph and Mary stayed when Jesus was born.

Also, Santa Claus was guarding the cattle at night. And went to tell Christmas that Mary was about to give birth. Santa Claus thus sent his wife to give birth to Mary. After the birth, he placed Jesus under an apple tree and began to pick fruit which he threw for joy to all the children passing by. Hence the custom of Santa Claus coming bearing gifts for the children.

Read more: If Jesus Was without Sin, Then Why Was He Baptized?

7 Traditions on Christmas Eve

  1. Gathering with friends and family on Christmas Eve, singing carols, opening presents, and decorating the house with Christmas lights are among the traditions and customs that never change.
  2. Also on Christmas Eve, there is one thing that many people do from the beginning of December, namely decorating the Christmas tree.
  3. By the late 1800s, Christmas trees had taken shape and were often decorated with both homemade ornaments and some imported from Germany.
  4. In the country, people never decorate the tree before the 24th. The charm of Christmas Eve is the decorating and unwrapping of Christmas presents.
  5. In the past, decorations and trees were left until Christmas Eve to be put up, as it was believed that any time earlier than that brought bad luck.
  6. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, known as Advent Sunday, and always ends on Christmas Eve (24 December).
  7. Christmas Eve cannot dispense with baking: molasses, kolaches, pretzels, of all sizes and shapes. Molasses for the caroling children, for the caroling children. For the priest, for setting the Christmas table. And also for sending to godparents and midwives, molasses. Lots of molasses to give as alms for the dead.

Read more: What is Corpus Christi and why is it celebrated?

Primary Takeaways

  • Christmas is one of the most important holidays in the Christian world. In the villages, the customs of this time of year are much better preserved. Starting on 20 December, on Ignat, when the pig is slaughtered, the homes feel the approach of Christmas. It begins to smell of smoked meat, kabbage, sweet bread, dishes that will be served at the Christmas table.
  • On Christmas Eve morning, after leaving the house for the first time, the householder would bring back the small rolls that he would distribute to all the members of his family, with the first good wishes for good fortune and health in the family.
  • On Christmas night, say the elders, the heavens open. The good see God sitting at a table with angels and saints. Pray at midnight, and your prayer will not go unanswered.

Read more: 6 Superstitions related to Saint George’s Day

Conclusion

Also on the morning of Christmas Eve, the elders began to preach around the corners of the windows. While women prepared the ritual food, from which there were round kulaks “like the sun and the moon”. As well as other foods to be eaten in the following days. In the mornings, women practiced rituals of defense and fecundation. And fertilization. They hid forks, spindles, and spinning wheels. Or put a stone in the bread baking oven that they kept there until Epiphany. In the hope of keeping the snakes out of the household.

Read more: Feast of St. Gregory the Great

The main character of Christmas Eve is not the feast itself. But Jesus Christ, the Lord who was born in a cave. That is why we make a big mistake of presenting them with the feast of the pig on Christmas Eve. Which is not a Christian thought.