Many people think that Christmas is December 25 and that’s all there is at Christmas.
However, for many people around the world, in different countries and in different Christian traditions, Christmas lasts much longer than that, and is even celebrated at different times!
When is Christmas celebrated
Although December 25 (or the evening / night of December 24) is the date on which most people celebrate Christmas, there are also other dates!
Some churches (mainly Orthodox churches) use a different calendar for their religious celebrations. Orthodox churches in Russia, Serbia, Jerusalem, Ukraine, Ethiopia and other countries use the old “Julian” calendar and the people of those churches celebrate Christmas on January 7.
Most people in the Greek Orthodox Church celebrate Christmas on December 25. But some still use the Julian calendar and thus celebrate Christmas on January 7! Some Greek Catholics also celebrate on January 7.
In Armenia, the Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6. He also celebrates ‘Epiphany’ on this day.
Advent – The time before Christmas
Before Christmas, many Christians use the time of Advent to prepare and prepare to celebrate the joy of Christmas, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, who believe he is the Son of God.
Advent is normally a period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. In many Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, Advent lasts 40 days, beginning on November 15.
In Orthodox churches that celebrate Christmas on January 7, Advent begins on November 28.
During Advent many people fast (they do not eat certain foods). The types of food that people leave depend on the tradition of their church and the place where they live.
After Christmas – The 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany
After Advent, traditionally, Christmas celebrations (and, often, a party!) Began on Christmas Day and lasted 12 days, so they were known as the 12 days of Christmas! The celebrations ended the afternoon of January 5, which is better known as Twelfth Night.
Throughout history, the 12 days of Christmas were a time of celebration and fun.
After the Twelfth Night, on January 6, there is Epiphany, when people remember the Three Kings (also sometimes called the Three Kings) who visited Jesus when he was a baby; and the baptism of Jesus when he was an adult.
Epiphany / Twelfth night is also the time when it was traditional to lower the Christmas decorations, although some people leave them until the Candelaria.
Candelaria – The End of Christmas
You might think that Christmas ends when you turn down the Christmas decorations, but it’s not like that! After Christmas and the season of the Epiphany, the end of the Christmas celebrations comes on February 2, 40 days after Christmas, with Candelaria.
La Candelaria, also known as the “Presentation of Jesus in the Temple” or the “Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (or Mary)” is when some Christians remember the time when Mary and Joseph took the child Jesus to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem to give thanks to God for giving them a child.
It is a very important day in some Orthodox and Catholic churches.
Candelaria’s name comes from “Misa de Vela” because in many Candelaria services, candles are blessed to be used in churches during the next year or given to people to use in their homes and private prayers.
In many Catholic churches, it is a time when people remember and renew the promises they made to the church and celebrate some of the prophecies that were given about Jesus.
In many Eastern / Orthodox churches, a vigil is held all night before the candle blessing ceremony. In the morning, the candles are blessed and given to the people.