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Christmas fast lasts 40 days, the last day falls on Christmas Eve. In 2023, Christians will start fasting on November 28, and end on January 6, 2023. Catholics fast 13 days earlier, adhering to the old style. The period of the event does not shift by date, it takes place at the same time every year.

From the establishment history

The first mention of fasting before Christmas came with the creations of Blessed Augustine, Saint Leo the Great of the period of the 4th-5th centuries. Early Christians fasted for a week or more. The forty-day period was established in the 12th century at the sacred cathedral under Patriarch Luke in Constantinople.

In the church charter, the Nativity Fast, like the Great Lent, is called the Fortecost according to the duration of the celebration. The conspiracy falls on November 28, the day of the memory of St. Philip, so the people often call the post Filippov, or Filippovka. Through the prayers of the apostle, a disciple of Jesus Christ, the blind received their sight.

The Church established a fast to prepare for Theophany, as Christmas was called in ancient times. Spiritual and bodily cleansing before the celebration symbolizes the forty-day fasting of Moses, to whom, at the end of the period of abstinence, God's commandments were revealed. Fasting expresses goodfeelings for the event of the birth of Christ and the miracle of his incarnation.

The essence of the post

The spiritual component is more important than food restrictions. The true meaning of fasting lies in the cleansing of both the soul and the body from everything sinful for renewal and unity with God. The Nativity fast is called the winter fast, at the end of the year there is an opportunity to exterminate the sins accumulated by “the frailty of the flesh and the impurity of desires,” as Leo the Great writes.

Fasting doesn't just mean restricting food. During the period of fasting, it is important to read spiritual books to nourish the soul. It is no coincidence that the Bible says that "man does not live by bread alone." It is useful to combine food restrictions with the achievement of a spiritual goal - the rejection of a bad habit, harmful desires, bad thoughts.

The measure of fasting causes endless debate. It is important not to reproach each other with fasting, regardless of whether the restrictions are observed. The Church recommends the observance of measure, the suppression of laziness, the manifestation of the spirit.

Spiritual elders note that Lenten food is angelic. But if the family has to choose between peace and fasting, then it is more important to keep the peace. It is impossible to impose restrictions on food, coercion does not lead to spiritual purification.

Fasting people note that making the right diet for Christmas Lent allows you to save a variety of dishes, nutrition, make the table beautiful and rich for the New Year.

Features of food in the Christmas post

At the heart of food restrictions for the period of Advent is a ban on animal products - meat, eggs, milk and everythingwhat is produced by them. Butter, cottage cheese, cheeses are excluded from the diet. Priests call such products brashni, i.e. viands, meals. The ban partially applies to wine, fish, which are allowed on certain days.

The strictest restrictions occur on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. On such days, food of animal origin, any fish, oil, wine is not allowed. According to church rules, meals should be taken after Vespers.

In general, everyone is allowed to set the amount of food, the frequency of consumption, but portions should not amuse voluptuousness, but satisfy true need, maintain body strength. After eating, it is important to maintain a slight feeling of hunger, not to experience pleasure and satiety.

A small amount of wine is allowed on church celebrations. So, during the Nativity Fast, concessions are allowed for the Introduction of the Virgin, the feast of St. Nicholas. Lenten pies, vegetable salads, fish dishes, hot casseroles with vegetable oil are put on the table.

Food on New Year's Eve, despite many temptations, should be limited to lenten dishes. At the common table it is allowed to taste cabbage salad, potato side dish, baked vegetables, fruits, pickled mushrooms, nuts, honey.

It is important for hostesses who receive guests to offer dishes to choose from so that no one feels embarrassed, regardless of fasting. Everyone is free to decide for himself what to prefer during the fasting period.

The forty-day fast is conditionally divided into three stages, different in duration andmeasure of severity:

    1. The first 3 weeks. Believers easily endure restrictions, as there are days in the calendar when vegetable oil and fish are allowed.
    2. Period from 20 to 31 December. Difficult time for those who fast due to New Year's Eve temptations.
    3. Final week. Strict bans even apply to fish, oil is allowed only on the weekend.

    On Christmas Eve, believers abstain from any food until the first star. At the end of Vespers, the main dish is usually sochivo, or steamed wheat with the addition of dried fruits, honey, and nuts. Directly at Christmas, breaking the fast is not limited to a special menu, as at Easter. Christians choose their favorite foods.

    Lent Rules

    During abstinence, the restrictions apply not only to food. It is customary for believers:

    • refuse to watch entertainment content;
    • condemn someone;
    • show anger, irritation;
    • offended and offended.

    During the Nativity Fast, first of all, restraint in feelings, repentance for sins is important, then meaningful abstinence will become pleasant, culminating in the true joy of renewal.

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