Nand Christmas Eve is fasting and it is also the last day of the great fasting of Christmas. During the period from 28 November to 6 January, the body and mind are cleansed of the physical and mental passions, and during this period good deeds should be done, refraining from bad thoughts and desires.
“On Christmas Eve, the host of a house with male children is preparing to go out into the woods to pick a Christmas tree. They are accompanied by the housewife and for that time she prepares a bag for them to put one loaf of corn flour, wine, wheat, corn and in some parts the host also carries brandy, ”pop Ljubinko Koricanac explains to the Better Country.
Male family members who went to the Christmas tree go to the oak or oak forest. When they find a tree to cut for the Christmas tree, they turn east, say a prayer, “Our Father,” pray to the young God, and in three strokes, cut a tree to take home.
Christmas Eve is most often eaten with pickled beans, potatoes, non-essential fish, salads, mushrooms, pies, dried fruits, nuts, wine not drunk, alcohol should not, but there are no rules
“When cutting wood, the host must wear gloves. Before cutting, the wood is poured over wine, some bread is put. This way, you ask the tree to cut it so that the tree does not get mad at you. The first scales that fall when a tree is cut down are brought together and taken home, ”says pop Ljubinko.
The host carries the tree on his shoulder and when he arrives he leans it on the house and brings it inside in the evening. During the day the housewife prepares a fasting dinner for Christmas Eve, it is the highlight of the fasting that ends with her and that dinner is prepared without oil, but adding a little oil to something is not a big mistake.
“A Christmas tree is brought into the house in the evening, as we cut it in gloves, so we bring it inside as well. Placed in a hearth, or in a stove or under a table, the introduction of a Christmas tree symbolizes Christ's entry into the home. The main point is that the inner fire is intensified by the coming of God, ”explains pop Ljubinko.
As the host brings the Christmas tree into the house, the housekeeper with the children greets him, and straw breaks out on the floor of the house and has dinner. Walnuts and other dried fruits are thrown in all four corners of the house.
“From the dinner being cooked, one part of the host takes the animals out to the wild. Pray for wildlife spirits not to cause year-round damage to fields, orchards and farm animals. Nothing is done in the evening, the courts stay up all night, the house is not cleaned, everything remains so until the morning. In this way, we show that the house is a home church, there is no place for cleaning, because it was “cleaned” for seven weeks during fasting, and now all of this is dedicated to God, ”says our interviewee.
On Christmas Eve, after the supper of the massively attended service, the Christmas tree lights up, but even then it does not stay long in the church, but goes home to celebrate the most joyous holiday – Christmas.
What the Christmas tree and straw symbolize
The Christmas tree that is brought into the house on Christmas Eve, symbolizes the tree that the shepherds brought to the cave to put out the fire when Christ was born. The straw brought into the house symbolizes the straw on which Jesus was born. In urban areas, badwood is bought in markets and straw is tied with red thread. The packed Christmas tree is brought to the house a few days earlier, and many put dried fruits and nuts on it.