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Author Topic: Celebrating Christmas early?  (Read 1644 times) Average Rating: 0
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mtmamma
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« on: December 24, 2011, 06:44:49 PM »

I am wondering why in seems as if so many in the Coptic Church seem to be celebrating Christmas tomorrow. Every time I ask I seem to get the brush off.
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2011, 07:07:06 PM »

My family is protestant and I live with them. I celebrate secular Christmas tomorrow.
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Salpy
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2011, 07:34:23 PM »

I am wondering why in seems as if so many in the Coptic Church seem to be celebrating Christmas tomorrow. Every time I ask I seem to get the brush off.

I don't know about the Copts, but among the Armenians here in the US it is the custom to do the secular part of Christmas--the tree, the gifts, etc.--on December 25th, and reserve the January Christmas as purely a religious holiday.

It's just too hard to ignore the Dec. 25 holiday.   Smiley
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mtmamma
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2011, 07:44:14 PM »

Salpy could you explain what you mean by that? What do you tell the children if you do the secular part on the 25th?
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Salpy
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2011, 08:00:05 PM »

Basically, December 25 is identified as "American Christmas" and January 6 is identified as "Armenian Christmas." 

This is not as much a deviation from the norm for the Armenians as you would think.  In the Old Country the tree, Santa, and the gifts are associated with New Year instead of Christmas.  In the US those things have just been transferred to "American Christmas."
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2011, 08:19:57 PM »

I am wondering why in seems as if so many in the Coptic Church seem to be celebrating Christmas tomorrow. Every time I ask I seem to get the brush off.

I don't know about the Copts, but among the Armenians here in the US it is the custom to do the secular part of Christmas--the tree, the gifts, etc.--on December 25th, and reserve the January Christmas as purely a religious holiday.

It's just too hard to ignore the Dec. 25 holiday.   Smiley

Same with my family.
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mtmamma
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2011, 08:49:20 PM »

Ahhh... So it's a case of when in America do as the Americans do? What do you do on the 6th then? When you say American Christmas do see it as being a fake (lack of a better word) Christmas? When you use the world Secular how is it meant? Not religious? Just a day to give gifts but not the Nativity of Christ? I think I understand but I can't seem to get past Christmas being celebrated twice.
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Salpy
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2011, 09:01:36 PM »

Ahhh... So it's a case of when in America do as the Americans do? What do you do on the 6th then? When you say American Christmas do see it as being a fake (lack of a better word) Christmas? When you use the world Secular how is it meant? Not religious? Just a day to give gifts but not the Nativity of Christ?

I think that's basically it.

Quote
I think I understand but I can't seem to get past Christmas being celebrated twice.

Yeah, it's weird, but you get used to it.

On my dad's side, the family is from northwestern Europe, and mom's side is Armenian.  Two Christmases is normal for me.
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ChristusDominus
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2011, 09:20:21 PM »

Basically, December 25 is identified as "American Christmas" and January 6 is identified as "Armenian Christmas."  

This is not as much a deviation from the norm for the Armenians as you would think.  In the Old Country the tree, Santa, and the gifts are associated with New Year instead of Christmas.  In the US those things have just been transferred to "American Christmas."
I have a question if you don't mind me asking:  As far as I know, Roman Catholics of Latin America and Spain celebrate the Epiphany on the 6Th of January(That means the trees don't come down til after the 6Th). What's the date for the Epiphany in the Armenian Church?
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 09:20:49 PM by ChristusDominus » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2011, 09:38:13 PM »

Epiphany and the Birth of Christ are celebrated on the same day in the Armenian Church.  It's actually the older practice:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7897.html
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ChristusDominus
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2011, 09:44:06 PM »

Epiphany and the Birth of Christ are celebrated on the same day in the Armenian Church.  It's actually the older practice:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7897.html
Interesting, thanks.
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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2011, 10:26:09 PM »

Ahhh... So it's a case of when in America do as the Americans do? What do you do on the 6th then? When you say American Christmas do see it as being a fake (lack of a better word) Christmas? When you use the world Secular how is it meant? Not religious? Just a day to give gifts but not the Nativity of Christ? I think I understand but I can't seem to get past Christmas being celebrated twice.

My wife is a New Calendarist and I am an Old Calendarist.  Since we were Lutherans before converting to Orthodoxy, we celebrate "Christmas" the way we always did.  After all, wasn't that the reason for the calendar change in the first place?  On January 7, we celebrate the Nativity of Christ.  So in essence, we do not celebrate the birth of Christ twice.  We go through the orgy of gift giving and the whole secular stuff and get it out of our system, and then celebrate the Feast on the appointed day.  Certainly not preferable, but I got tired of arguing and having it drive a wedge between members of our families.  This is a compromise that has worked for us for the past 16 years.  I actually like it since I never liked the whole commercialization of Christmas even as a Lutheran.  Now, we can have commercial Christmas and religious Nativity.  So in essence, we do celebrate a "fake" Christmas and a "real" Christmas.
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« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2011, 12:09:18 AM »

It's exactly as Salpy said in my family.  Secular American Christmas December 25th, Armenian Christmas on January 6th.

And it gets more complicated for me, since my family is split down the middle between Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy on the Old Calendar, so for most of my life I've celebrated three Christmases (and two Easters).  Then there was the year I went to Jerusalem for Armenian Christmas, which is celebrated there on January 19th.  That year, I celebrated four.

Ain't life in America grand?
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mtmamma
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« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2011, 12:32:51 AM »

Wow!!  Shocked I didn't realise this was so common. Now I feel bad as I haven't even decorated or wrapped gifts as I was thinking that one had to wait to the 7th. Still pondering the secular vs religious Christmas significance.
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« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2011, 01:20:12 AM »

Basically, December 25 is identified as "American Christmas" and January 6 is identified as "Armenian Christmas." 

This is not as much a deviation from the norm for the Armenians as you would think.  In the Old Country the tree, Santa, and the gifts are associated with New Year instead of Christmas.  In the US those things have just been transferred to "American Christmas."

Ditto for me. It's just the way we've always done it all the way back to when I was a little kid which means well over 30 years. Smiley

Now that I'm married to a Roman Catholic gal the religious component is doubled as I attend mass with her on Dec 25 and she attends the divine liturgy with me on Jan 6. Though all of the gifts are swapped on Dec 25 and sometimes a portion on Jan 1 if I'm out of town for American Christmas as I am this year.

It sounds complicated but it's a lot smoother in practice. Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2011, 01:23:55 AM »

Just say "Merry Saint Herman of Alaska Day" And then give a nice present.
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Salpy
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« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2011, 01:56:04 AM »

Actually, in the Armenian Church it's St. Stephan's Day.  Which reminds me that I have to resurrect the St. Stephan's Day thread!
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« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2011, 02:46:00 AM »

FWIW, I participate in the "Jelorian" calendar.  laugh

Tomorrow, I will go to the local OCA parish and celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord on December 25th. Then on Jan 7, I will go to my family's UOC parish and celebrate it then.

As a kid, December 25th was about Santa and presents.

While others may disagree, I see no harm in celebrating the Lord's Nativity twice. I'm praising God, my King. What could be wrong about that? Smiley
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Salpy
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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2011, 03:01:38 AM »

Wow!!  Shocked I didn't realise this was so common. Now I feel bad as I haven't even decorated or wrapped gifts as I was thinking that one had to wait to the 7th. Still pondering the secular vs religious Christmas significance.

Don't worry about it.  I always wait and give a few gifts to relatives I don't see until Christmas Eve in January.

It's kind of cool doing some gift giving for the Christmas in January.  That way you get to do your Christmas shopping when everything is on sale.   Grin

Tomorrow go all out on the decorating and wrapping gifts.  It'll be fun for the kids.  
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« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2011, 03:07:13 AM »

Or I guess you can stay up late tonight and decorate and wrap gifts and surprise the kids in the morning.  Now that would be great surprise!
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« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2011, 09:02:19 AM »

It's exactly as Salpy said in my family.  Secular American Christmas December 25th, Armenian Christmas on January 6th.

And it gets more complicated for me, since my family is split down the middle between Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy on the Old Calendar,

What nationality are you and they if I may ask?

Quote
so for most of my life I've celebrated three Christmases (and two Easters).  Then there was the year I went to Jerusalem for Armenian Christmas, which is celebrated there on January 19th.  That year, I celebrated four.

Ain't life in America grand?

4 Christmas in 4 weeks, epic!
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 09:02:33 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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Jonathan
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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2011, 04:14:52 PM »

Our priest and servants certainly discourage us from celebrating Dec 25 as Christmas. My priest offered us an absolution to break fast on Dec 25. since I was raised Protestant, and he did not want us to offend my family by not eating with them. We told him it was ok though because we take seyyami food and they are not offended. We exchange gifts with my parents and brother on Dec 25, but certainly not with each other. There is nothing dogmatic about the date, it's just the same date on a different calendar... But if we are immersed in our tradition then we will not feel at all that it is Christmas on Dec 25, we will feel that the end of advent is approaching, with just one or two more Sundays of Koiak praise left to attend before the Feast. When we go to my parents it feels like a family event like a birthday or anything else. When Jan 7 comes and we attend the vigil, then it is Nativity. I didn't even realize that this weekend was their Christmas until my parents called to work out what time we were coming. There is certainly no santa clause in our house. If possible, we celebrate St. Nicholas' feast by attending Liturgy. One year my priest announced it by saying "and on Wed. we have Liturgy from 11:30-1 for the Feast of St. Nicholas, whom the Americans have turned into a big fat clown".

It is sad when Orthodox are more concerned with celebrating a feast of materialism than the feast of the Nativity. It is also sad that everyone comes for the feast of the Nativity, the 3rd most important feast on the calendar... But less than half as many come for Theophany, the second most important feast. It seems strange to me when Orthodox (old calendar) say "Merry Christmas" to each other, almost from the start of December now, like the world. Would we say "Khristos Anesti!" two weeks before the Resurrection, in the middle of Lent and Pascha week? Then why do we say "Marry Christmas" during the advent fast? Even in the west there used to be Advent, and then Christmas. Now the fasting of advent has been replaced by chocolate calendars, and instead of 12 days of Christmas building up to the greater feast of Theophany, we have a month of materialistic Christmas followed by 1 semi-religious day, that is immediately forgotten for the greater feast of boxing day when everything is on sale at the stores...

I have no problem wishing Catholics, Protestants, and new-Calendarists a merry christmas on their feast, and thanking them if they wish me the same... but I have no feeling that that day is anything to me. There is no please for celebrating it as the American feast of materialism while we're in the middle of the advent fast, preparing to celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation.
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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2011, 05:12:51 PM »

Our priest and servants certainly discourage us from celebrating Dec 25 as Christmas. My priest offered us an absolution to break fast on Dec 25. since I was raised Protestant, and he did not want us to offend my family by not eating with them. We told him it was ok though because we take seyyami food and they are not offended. We exchange gifts with my parents and brother on Dec 25, but certainly not with each other. There is nothing dogmatic about the date, it's just the same date on a different calendar... But if we are immersed in our tradition then we will not feel at all that it is Christmas on Dec 25, we will feel that the end of advent is approaching, with just one or two more Sundays of Koiak praise left to attend before the Feast.

Do you know what 'tradition' is?

(emphasis mine)
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 05:14:08 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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Anastasia1
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« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2011, 06:35:11 PM »

My parent gave gifts not because we were good but because whether we were good or not, we were all still given the gift of a savior, a gift of grace, and my parents wanted us to experience gifts like that. Maybe twice in my life have we not gone to a Christmas eve (24th) service. We usually have a Jesus birthday cake. Even though Jesus was probably not born on the 25, I participate to please my family and because I believe that Christmas is a gift worth celebrating and remembering with joy often. I hope to attend the next Orthodox Christmas service.I have yet to discuss this with a priest, but I need a thread to tell you about the Christmas present I got. I got an Orthodox study Bible. I am very happy with it. Cheesy
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« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2011, 12:57:49 AM »

Jonathan, funny you wrote this. I had emailed my priest about it and today after Liturgy we had quite an interesting talk about this issue. His views fall in line with your priest views.   
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« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2011, 10:05:04 AM »

i celebrate it twice as i am the only orthodox Christian in my family.
i don't want those who have always celebrated it on 25th to feel left out, and i didn't celebrate it as some massive food orgy before, so it's no different now.

i don't see why it's a problem for those who are on the old calendar to celebrate with fish and beans and mince pies (usually no dairy in them) and to discuss the joy of God's wonderful gift of salvation with those around them. also giving a small gift is not forbidden during fasting.
after all the liturgy readings for each day at this time of year are about the annunciations of saint john's and Jesus' birth and about how to prepare our hearts for Jesus to be the Lord of our lives. these are certainly good topics to be discussing around a 'Christmas' meal.
i think those who are not orthodox should allow us to continue fasting (although it's great it wasn't on a wednesday or friday this year!) but i think if they are difficult, there may be a reason for a loosening of the fast for one meal.
it is something that should be decided by the priest.

my church actually had a day of spiritual activities, with fasting food and welcomed those who were not orthodox; it is a great chance to reach out to those around us and we should take full advantage of it.
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« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2011, 10:18:20 AM »

and anastasia1, congratulations on your orthodox study Bible, surely the best present!
try to read a bit every day
 Smiley
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Aram
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« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2011, 11:26:52 AM »

What nationality are you and they if I may ask?
I'm Armenian and Russian.
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Anastasia1
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« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2011, 05:27:36 PM »

What nationality are you and they if I may ask?
I'm Armenian and Russian.
Parev. (But also Privet because Russian is pretty.)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 05:31:51 PM by Anastasia1 » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2011, 05:42:44 PM »

I sent a Christmas greeting to a cradle Orthodox Friend who is on the Civil Calendar. I thought I was being funny when I wished her a "Merry St. Herman of Alaska Day"   Well now !

She kinda flipped out and I got a long lecture about how she scolded her parents when she was young about being "American" and how the New Calender was more accurate..blah blah blah..

I won't do that again Sad
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« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2011, 01:42:11 AM »

and anastasia1, congratulations on your orthodox study Bible, surely the best present!
try to read a bit every day
 Smiley
That is the plan to read that and the other Bible I got all the way through. Pray that I do, for the spirit is willing (usually), but the flesh is weak.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 01:43:11 AM by Anastasia1 » Logged

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