Christmas rituals: a new life of the pagan tradition
In the peasant calendar the main winterholiday was considered Christmas, which lasted two weeks, starting with Christmas Eve. The Christmas Eve was completed on the day of Baptism. It was a kind of transition from old to new year. At this time, various holy rituals were performed. These rites have their roots in ancient antiquity and are associated with paganism. The character of this holiday was influenced by Christianity.
The main Christmas holidays are Christmas,Vasiliev day or New Year and Baptism. It was on these days in the evening and holy rituals were performed. In every house, ritual food was prepared for the souls of the deceased, and after dinner they left it on the table. For frost, the food was put on the threshold or window. It was believed that without this in the new year a good harvest will not grow.
The holy traditions were not limited tofeeding the souls of the deceased ancestors. For example, at Christmas, a round ceremony of the Glory of Christ was performed. This rite was associated with ensuring a high yield in the coming year. For the same purpose, New Year's Eve celebrated from the house to the house of the caroling people and sang congratulatory songs to the hosts. For this it was supposed to give generously to caroling people.
The rituals were performed mostly by young peopleguys and girls. Christmas trees were generally considered to be a youth holiday, as adults three days after the holiday had already returned to their daily work, and the youth, free from work, continued to entertain. At this time, the formation of married couples was active.
All the evenings, except for Christmas Eve, were heldyouth games, where guys and girls looked at each other. Even at this time, young girls were invited to visit their friends or relatives who lived in large villages, where they attracted the attention of the guys not only with bright outfits but also with how they could dance, sing or just talk. But at the same time, girls had to behave modestly.
Some rituals for Christmas trees were associated withfortune telling. In every house, in the evenings, they guessed at harvest, and the girls guessed at the groom. Guys, though rarely, but also wondered, trying to find out about the future wedding. Usually, in the last laziness of Christmas, bridegrooms passed, after which the time of weddings came. All these events turned holy holidays into a very emotional action. The Russian people connected the approach of the new year with the birth of the sun and believed that it was the Christmas season that formed the fate of each person and nature for the next year. It was believed that with the help of fortune-telling, it is possible not only to predict fate, but also, if the prognosis was unfavorable, to change it. For example, this was done during the preparation of ritual porridge for the New Year. The birth of the new year among the Russian people was associated with the transition from darkness to light, therefore all holy rituals were performed in the dark time of the day - in the evening or at night.
Christmas trees were divided into holy and terrible evenings. The holy evenings lasted from Christmas to New Year. That is, before Vasiliev's day, and scary - from New Year's Eve to Epiphany. It was believed that in terrible evenings an impure force is born, flies out of the pipe creates revelry and outrage. Therefore, during this terrible time various ritualistic rituals were performed. Defending not only people and livestock, but also the entire economy.
Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, tryingeradicate paganism in 1649 issued decrees prohibiting divination, but completely eradicated these traditions and could not. In order to find out about destiny and perform rituals, people tightly pulled curtains and locked themselves in a hut or a bathhouse, or completely went into the forest. Some holy traditions have proved so tenacious that they have survived to this day.