Double Christmas celebrations in Moldova

Vladlena Martus | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Christmas holiday is always eagerly awaited by both adults and children in Moldova. It carries with itself warmth, love, faith, happiness, and prosperity. Moldova is not only a cozy and keeping-traditions country to choose for Christmas celebrations but also unique at the legislative level, because there are two approved dates for the celebration of Christ's Nativity: 25th of December and 7th of January. However, even before the two dates became officially festive, the majority of Moldavian people celebrated Christmas both in the old and in the new style. Thus, why do we celebrate Christmas twice a year? Let's find out!

© iStock/Deagreez

The old and the new style

Christmas in Moldova is celebrated on different dates by the churches of the Moldavian and Bessarabian Metropolises due to the difference in the two calendars: Julian and Gregorian. Precisely this fact caused "two Christmas dates" to appear in the government's holiday list. The difference between the dates of the calendars increases three days every 400 years. In a hundred years, it will reach 14 days. Today, the Julian and Gregorian calendars continue to coexist. The first one is used by the Georgian, Jerusalem, Serbian, and Russian churches, while the Gregorian one guides Catholics and Protestants. In Moldova, most people celebrate Christmas according to the old and the new style together - we even have days off on the 25th of December and the 7th of January.

© iStock/Tatomm

Christmas traditions in Moldova

Christmas carols in Moldova are one of the main traditions of this holiday. On Christmas night, people from youth to adults, gather to go from house to house to spread the good news of Jesus' birth. Traditionally, women bake pies, which symbolize the rebirth and renewal, cookies and placinte to give to those carol singers, when they come to perform their songs. The only rule for this tradition consists of strict and fast actions - carol singers should visit houses until the first star in the sky appears. 

Also, the hosts of the house can give visitors not only sweets and pies but also money and coins. This works as a payment for the good news and shows gratitude to the singers. 

© iStock/DGLimages

Christmas entertainment 

Talking about entertainment, as Moldova celebrates the Christmas holiday twice a year, there is a tremendous amount of entertainment options both on the 25th of December and the 7th of January. The main Christmas market in the center of Chisinau usually opens on the 21st of December. It is situated in the square in front of the Cathedral of Christ's Nativity. There are many more markets, starting from 31st of August Street and spreading to the square of the Theater of Opera and Ballet. On the 25th of December, people usually celebrate Christmas on the Great National Assembly Square. There, different folk ensembles are invited to entertain people and sing carols together. On the 7th of January in front of the Cathedral, the authorities usually organize various Christmas performances, which could include famous singers, theatrical spectacles, traditional carols, etc.

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