Russian Christmas

Yes, i know, Christmas was two weeks ago.  But i have fond memories of my childhood, and celebrating Russian Christmas on January 7th.  As a child i had the dubious pleasure of celebrating christmas on December 25th like everyone, and then again on January 7th when the Orthodox Church recognized christmas.  It was a simple pleasure… often the best gifts came then because they were purchased in the “after christmas” sales… after December 25th.

We took the day off school, and spent the morning in church, and the afternoon having family and friends over for dinner, and celebration.  Mom’s best bakery came out then, as did a lovely Ham.  We feasted like kings, and enjoyed the distinction of a special day.

Why January 7th?  Because the Russian Orthodox church recognized the Julian Calander as the accurate representation of time.  Here is what Wikipedia tells us about this:

The Julian calendar was the calendar in predominant use in most of Europe from 45 BC until it was superseded by the Gregorian calendar commencing in 1582, although it continued to be used as the civil calendar in some countries into the 20th century. The Gregorian calendar has now replaced the Julian calendar as the civil calendar in all countries which formerly used it. Most Christian denominations in the West and areas evangelized by Western churches have also replaced it with the Gregorian calendar as the basis for their liturgical calendars. However, most branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church still use the Julian calendar for calculating the dates of moveable feasts, including Easter (Pascha). Some Orthodox churches have adopted the Revised Julian calendar for the observance of fixed feasts, while other Orthodox churches retain the Julian calendar for all purposes.[1] The Julian calendar is still used by the Berber people of North Africa, and on Mount Athos.

It was a reform of the Roman calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC (708 AUC) to commence in 45 BC (709 AUC). The calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months, as listed in Table of months. A leap day is added to February every four years. The Julian year is, therefore, on average 365.25 days long.

The calendar year was intended to approximate the tropical (solar) year. Although Greek astronomers had known, at least sinceHipparchus, that the tropical year was a few minutes shorter than 365.25 days, the calendar did not compensate for this difference. As a result, the calendar year gained about three days every four centuries compared to observed equinox times and the seasons. This discrepancy was corrected by the Gregorian reform, introduced in 1582.

So for those who still celebrate on January 7th – Merry Christmas.  or as we used to say

Христос родился (Khristos rodilsya)


Leave a Reply