It’s Christmas for Armenians, almost Christmas to many more in the East

The Inside of an Eastern Orthodox church

Image via Wikipedia

That’s right.  Tomorrow, most of the world’s Orthodox (that is, if you are of Russian, Macedonian, Serbian, Ukrainian, or Greek ancestry) and Coptic (Egyptian) Christians will celebrate a belated (or as some way, very early) Christmas.

But today, to our Armenian friends, it’s Shenorhavor Dzenount to you!

So why the date discrepancy?

The celebration, known to some as Theophany or simply Armenian Christmas, follows the original Julian calendar as opposed to the standard Western or Gregorian calendar. When Christians began to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 as dictated by the Romans, Armenians held to the original Jan. 6 date.

And what is special and specific to Armenian Christmas?  It’s the same obsession with oil.

It is believed that Armenian patriarchs somehow obtained some of the oil used to baptize Jesus.

Since then, patriarchs in Armenia have continually combined a portion of that oil with oils drawn from more than 40 plants.

The oil is then bottled and distributed from Armenia to Armenian churches around the world.

And tonight might look something like this if you’re Orthodox.  Merry Christmas!(?)

That is, if you don’t all end up going the way of the communists, and end up exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve around a (joyless and) secular fir tree.

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