Moscow, January 8 – The Church has always accepted folk traditions, as long as they do not contradict Christian morality, Hieromonk Macarius (Markish) told the News Agency on the eve of the onset of Christmas, head of the Department for Relations between the Church, Society and the Media. Ivanovo-Voznesensk Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The twelve holidays between Christmas (January 7, new style) and Epiphany (January 19) are called Christmas. According to the charter of the Russian Orthodox Church, these are “holy days” – a time of special spiritual joy and constant celebration. These days, from January 8 to January 17, a one-day fast on Wednesday and Friday is canceled. Folk traditions are also associated with it: in particular, Christmas divination.
“If we take, for example, pancakes, although they are more associated with Shrovetide: well, what’s wrong with them? Eat, just don’t eat. Or sledding, sledding, singing Christian praises, songs – good, beautiful, not obscene “Everything that brings people good, folk and Christian. Everything that brings evil to people is anti-national and anti-Christian. This is how one should look at it. The church has formulated folk customs at all times and centuries. This does not contradict the moral standards of Christ and the way of life,” Markish told the agency. Christianity”.
He notes that Saint Theophanes the Recluse supplemented Thoughts for Every Day of the Year with a note about Christmas, more than half of which he devoted to how Christian holidays were overshadowed by “pagan, anti-Christian, godless” entertainment. Markisch concluded, “Today, we also see this. But when we talk about folk traditions, we simplify a bit: the people are us, and the folk is what is good in us, in our people. What is bad is the anti-people.” .
According to one version, the word “Christmas” comes from the verb “to sanctify”, because people “sanctify” at Christmas time, that is, they glorify Christ.
According to popular beliefs, with the onset of Christmas, the door to the other world opens, where the souls of the dead return. The best time for divination in Russia was considered the evening on Epiphany Eve – people believed that it was at this time that evil spirits were especially strong.