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Celebrating Christmas in the Eastern Catholic Church

O Christ, our Defender, taking the form of man, You have bestowed upon him the joy of becoming Godlike (St. John Damascene)

Nativity Icon

Sinai Nativity Icon

Eastern-Rite Catholics (non Latin-Rite) have beautiful and ancient traditions for celebrating Christmas, which is commonly called the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. The time before Christmas is known as the pre-Nativity period, and it is longer than our season of Advent. It has a few distinct practices

Fasting: Eastern Catholics prepare for the great Feast Day by a period of fasting — much like Lent before Easter. This fast is called the Nativity Fast, or sometimes known as St. Philip’s Fast or the Philippian Fast, because it starts after the day of the Feast of St. Philip on November 14.  The Fast lasts for 40 days until Nativity. In some Churches, like here in the United States, the Fast has been shortened to two weeks beginning December 10, following the feast of the Immaculate Conception (known as the Feast of the Conception of St. Anne in the Eastern Churches).

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