Christmas traditions differ throughout the world, so if you’re celebrating it with Slavic women this year, then it’s good to know the differences between your own traditions and how they would usually celebrate it.
Slavic women may have very different traditions to that of your own, while some others will actually be remarkably similar. Depending on which country she is from, her Christmas may differ in ways to other Slavic women as well.
Here are some of the fundamental differences to how Slavic women celebrate Christmas.
It’s all about Christmas Dinner
In many Western countries, Christmas is primarily celebrated on December, 25. However, in Slavic nations, the main festivities will often take place on January, 7. This difference takes place as people in Slavic countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus) are mostly Orthodox Christians.
The celebration itself will include visiting an Orthodox church and having a large Christmas Dinner with close family and relatives. The dinner is very joyful as Christmas is the last day for Orthodox Christians to keep a fast, which is the longest one throughout the year.
Baby Jesus delivers the Christmas presents
In the Western world, tradition states that Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, delivers the gifts and places them under the tree while people sleep at night. In Slavic countries, especially Poland, it’s a commonly held belief that the gifts are in fact put under the tree by Baby Jesus, not Santa.
Localised traditions of Slavic women
Depending on where Slavic women are from, they may also have local traditions from their own country, or region, which they will want to practise in the lead-up to Christmas. For example, in Czech Republic, an old tradition would see a lady place a candle in a walnut shell and float it in a bowl of water. Not only is this decorative, but it can also have meaning and signify whether she will get married in the coming year.
A tradition in Croatia is also interesting. A ‘Badnjak’, or a Yule Log, is brought into the home and placed onto the fire on Christmas Eve. The log will have been cut on Christmas Eve morning with great celebration and then placed into the fire with family or friends gathered around. In homes where this is not possible, a symbolic log may be used.
In many Slavic countries, the lead-up to Christmas is the time for a significant clean-up of the home. Despite the cold weather, windows will be opened to allow air to enter the house while every inch is cleaned and polished ahead of the festive season. If you’re celebrating Christmas with Slavic women this year, make sure your home is spotlessly clean!