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Christmas fasting in 2023: when it starts, what it involves, and when you can eat

Alina MilsentNews
Christmas fast
  • The dates of the Christmas fast in 2023 have changed with the transition of the OCU and UGCC to the New Julian calendar. From now on, the fast will end before the New Year, not after.

The Christmas fast is also called Advent or Pylypivka. Read the OBOZ.UA article to find out when the fast begins and what you can eat.

When does the Christmas fast begin

The fast lasts exactly 40 days. It begins on November 15 and ends on December 24.

Advent for Catholics begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which falls on the period from November 27 to December 3. In 2023, Advent will begin on December 3. This period is traditionally similar to the Orthodox Lent but does not involve strict dietary restrictions, except for giving up meat on Fridays.

The popular name Pylypivka comes from the day of St. Philip the Apostle, which falls on November 14 according to the New Julian calendar and November 27 according to the Julian calendar.

History of Christmas Fast and Advent 

Historians say that the birthplace of Advent is Gaul, the territory of modern France, where the tradition of preparatory pre-Christmas fasting was born in the fifth century. In 567, the Council of Tours ordered monks to fast every day in December until Christmas.

Later, the tradition of fasting appeared in Italy and spread throughout Europe. In Byzantium, the fast first lasted 7 days, and in 1166, by the decision of the Patriarch of Constantinople, it began to last 40 days.

Rules of fasting

The point of fasting is not to refuse to eat. If you want to lose weight or improve your gastrointestinal tract, try a diet prescribed by your doctor. Fasting is about combining physical purification with spiritual purification, prayer, good deeds, and charity.

The basic rules are as follows:

  • On Wednesday and Friday, you can eat plant-based foods without adding oil.
  • On Tuesday and Thursday, vegetable food with oil is eaten.
  • On Saturday and Sunday (except for the last pre-holiday days) and on major holidays, you can eat fish.

Pregnant women, mothers who are breastfeeding, people with health problems, and those who work hard can relax the rules of fasting. Food restrictions should not be harmful to health.

You should not eat animal products, eggs, cheese, dairy products, butter, etc.

What you can eat during Lent 

The basis of the diet is usually cereals: buckwheat, pearl barley, oatmeal, millet, and rice. You can cook porridge in water with vegetables, make lean cabbage rolls with millet, rice with dried fruit, peppers stuffed with rice and mushrooms, etc.

You should supplement your diet with vegetables and herbs: potatoes, carrots, beets, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkins, and cabbage (there is a wide choice: white cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Peking cabbage).

Christmas fasting is the perfect time to enjoy summer preparations and preservation: pickles, salads, tomatoes, and sauerkraut.

The lean menu also includes soups, but without meat broth. You can get nutrients from legumes: peas, beans, lentils, soybeans, and chickpeas.

Don't forget about nuts and seeds - they can be added to salads or eaten plain.

Mushroom dishes will help diversify the menu. And for dessert, you can enjoy fruits, berries, and honey.

Stages of the fast

Stage one: November 15 - December 6 

  • Monday: You can eat hot food without oil.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: you can eat fish and drink wine.
  • Wednesday, and Friday: days of "dry" food. Eat bread, water, raw fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and honey.

Stage two: December 7 - December 18

  • Monday: vegetable cooked food on water without added oil (rice porridge, candied fruit, jelly, lean dumplings).
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday - you can eat hot dishes with the addition of oil.
  • Wednesday, and Friday: days of "dry" food.
  • On Tuesday and Thursday, it is forbidden to eat fish dishes.

Stage three: December 19 - December 24

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: days of "dry" food.
  • Tuesday, and Thursday: hot food without oil.
  • Saturday, and Sunday: hot food with oil.
  • During the third stage, it is forbidden to eat fish.

On December 24, you should eat lean food: raw fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, cereals, dried fruits, nuts, and honey. With the appearance of the first star, 12 lean dishes are served on the table, and Kutia is an obligatory attribute of the Christmas Eve.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA told you what to cook Kutia with to make it "rich."

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