The Christmas Eve Holy Supper is a central part of holiday celebrations for some families, and how it is celebrated varies depending on the country, specific religious affiliation, and even family. Some countries have a much more elaborate fast in addition to Christmas Eve Holy Supper, and one such lengthy fast is called the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
What is Christmas Eve Holy Supper?
Setting The Atmosphere
Christmas Eve Holy Supper traditionally does not begin until after the sun has set. Members present are often sprinkled with holy water. Candles are lit at the table. The candles are meant to represent Christ, the Light of the World.
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Many families I know that have an annual Christmas Eve Holy Supper leave an empty spot at their dining table for baby Jesus. In Poland is it customary to exchange gifts before eating Christmas Eve Holy Supper. Exchanging gift is not the primary focus, however, and the special foods that everyone is eager to enjoy have greater importance.
Christmas Eve Holy Supper encompasses interesting culinary selections. There are usually 12 food items served which are intended to represent the 12 apostles. Examples of food items serve include beet soup, poppy seed cake, and herring. The types of foods served to vary by country, region, and also my family. Devout Christians also observe a very strict 24-hour fast leading up to the Christmas Eve Holy Supper. Fasting does not hold the importance that it once did for many Christians, but some followers insist on keeping up this tradition.
A Tradition Lost?
The Christmas Eve Holy Supper was once a more integral component of the holiday season. As religious attendance declines, so does some of the age-old customs that were once observed. Still, some families to eagerly await and enjoy a traditional Merry Christmas Eve Holy Supper, and it provides an excellent chance for family members to get together.