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Related article:"The Star of Bethlehem"
When Jesus was born, there a new star appeared in the sky which people did not see earlier. The Magi - volhvi - saw this and learnt about Jesus' birth. They wished to bow to him, but did not know where to find him. The star showed them the way. They saw Maria with the child on hands and presented him gifts
and proclaimed him the king of the Earth and Heaven...
In memory of Vifliem star a meal on Christmas Eve people began only with the first star in the evening sky. By this time all members of the family should dress celebratory clothes, gather together, cover a table with a snow-white cloth, and serve the best utensils. Catholics began the meal with an exchange of "oblatka" - a symbol of bread, riches and well-being. The mistress of the house shared it with the husband, then with sons on seniority, with grandsons and all the rest.
The ceremony came to an end, when all people exchanged it, and wished happy Christmas each other. From the word "sochivo" - there is the name of evening before Christmas - Sochelnik. Sochivo, was boiled from wheat, peas, rice, barley. It was seasoned with honey, poppy, hemp or sunflower oil, or another Fast food. Grain - a symbol of a reviving life, and honey - sweet of the future blessed life. At the table people spoke only about good.
Though Christmas Eve is a family holiday, the neighbors were invited to the table, especially lonely ones. The owner treated domestic and homeless animals. There was a strict order of observance of dishes at the table. Snack was given in the beginning: fish (herring), salads, then red borsch, mushroom or fish soup. Borsch goes with mushroom pies, orthodox have fried flour flat cakes. The celebratory menu always was rich and various. Except pancakes, fish dishes, pies and gingerbreads, ham, boiled pork, sausage, a pig, a goose or a duck with apples. It was considered, that it is necessary to try each of the prepared dishes. Traditional quantity of dishes on the festive table is - 12 - sacred number 12 apostles. A divine service in Orthodox cathedrals starts on January 6 at midnight. The candle, lighted in front of the Christmas Icon to the singing of the Christmas hymn, symbolizes "the first star" - the star of Bethlehem.