The phrase "lean food" is rejected by many. People are convinced that during fasting they eat only stale bread and drink water, when, as it is tasty for many, it means to consume products of animal origin, which are called in church use as modest. We will tell you what fasting is in a gastronomic context, whether it is so meager, and how you can diversify the lean menu.
Fasting is not essentially a diet; in the Christian Orthodox tradition, it is a time when a person strives to become better spiritually and morally. Denying himself short food, he does not even indirectly harm living beings and, most importantly, learns to curb his own desires. You can talk for a long time about the theological background of fasting, but as a result, most people do not manage to limit themselves in the use of meat, eggs and milk, very often this happens due to ignorance of what can be prepared from vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, cereals and spices ... But in fact, such restrictions give rise only to more inventive variations of familiar dishes.
Specifically, during the Nativity Fast, the church charter is allowed to eat fish (except Wednesday, Friday and the last week before the feast of the Nativity of Christ), which makes it easier, unlike Lent. His beginning and end are unchanged - November 28 and January 6.
By the way, several traditions and beliefs, little known now, were previously associated with this period:
- On the eve of December 7 (the day of the Great Martyr Catherine), the young men kept a particularly strict fast in the hope that for their zeal and through the prayers of this holy God will send them a kind and faithful wife.
- On the morning of December 7, the girls cut several branches of cherries and put them in the water. If they bloomed by January 14, then this foreshadowed an imminent marriage.
- The girls baked kalita - a honey cake, which later became an important element of the games at the party.
- On November 27, before the beginning of Lent, it is customary to feed widows and orphans with meat food and the fruits of the harvested harvest.
- Sochivo - a dish of grains with honey and dried fruits, in the Christian tradition appeared in memory of the prophet Daniel and three youths who refused pagan food and ate seeds.
The Lenten menu can include such delicious dishes, let's see!
Buckwheat soup with mushrooms
- 80 g buckwheat,
- 100 g oyster mushrooms or mushrooms,
- 1 onion
- 4-5 potatoes,
- 5 g paprika
- 5-8 g dried herbs (basil, dill, parsley, celery).
Rinse buckwheat, pour 1.5 liters of water and put on fire. Chop the onion and fry for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, then add the finely chopped mushrooms, salt them, add paprika and herbs, mix. When they are lightly browned, remove from the stove.
Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes and add to the buckwheat when the water starts to boil. After it boils again, salt. Send the frying to the pan after 15 minutes. Cook until the potatoes are fully cooked.
Buckwheat and mushrooms are perfectly combined products that will saturate the broth with their taste characteristics.
Borscht with beans
You will need:
- 100 g red beans
- 100 g cabbage
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot,
- 1 beet
- 4 potatoes,
- 50 g tomato paste
- 100 ml boiling water,
- 5 g celery
- 5 g of hot ground pepper,
- 5 g dried dill
- 5 g sugar.
Rinse the beans, pour 2.5 liters of water, salt and cook until half cooked. At the same time, when you have to add water, it is better to use cold water, so the beans will become soft faster. But you should not cook them to a puree state, on the contrary, they are needed still slightly hard, but such that you can chew. If the beans have acquired the required texture, it's time to throw in the grated beets and carrots. While the vegetables are cooking, chop the onion, fry for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, then sprinkle with sugar. It will quickly acquire a golden hue, then you need to put tomato paste, paste in a pan, pour boiling water and add spices. Mix the sauce thoroughly and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes.
Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes and send to the pot, after the beets have almost lost their color. Cook until the root vegetable is ready, then add chopped cabbage, check the broth for salt. By this time, the beans should also be completely cooked. If it is ready, then pour in the sauce, stir, leave to simmer. After 10 minutes, simmer it, cover the pan with a lid and let it brew for half an hour.
- 0.5 kg of minced fish,
- 100 g flour
- 100 ml boiling water,
- 50 g oatmeal,
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5-7 g each paprika, black pepper, dried celery, dill, oregano,
- 10 g salt
Defrost the minced meat completely (without pouring in hot water or using the microwave). Mix the flakes with all herbs and spices, excluding salt and garlic. Then pour boiling water over and cover with a lid or plate so that the porridge is steamed. She, thanks to the secreted starchy mucus, is an excellent substitute for binding all the ingredients of a raw egg. After 10 minutes, mix with minced fish, add flour, crushed garlic and salt. Mix thoroughly. From the resulting mass, sculpt large, but flat cutlets with wet hands (minced fish is fried more difficult than meat). Roll them in breadcrumbs and fry in vegetable oil on both sides.
Lean chocolate mousse
For mousse you need:
- 150 g dark chocolate without additives,
- 80 g semolina,
- 100 g sugar
- 50 ml lemon juice.
Grate chocolate. Pour a little more than half a liter of water into a saucepan. When it boils, add semolina, stirring so that no lumps form. After 3-4 minutes, send most of the chocolate there. After another same amount of time, add sugar and lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed). Hold on fire for another 40 seconds, remove and beat with a blender for about 5 minutes, until the mass acquires an airy consistency.
Spoon the resulting mousse into glass bowls, wide glasses or bowls, and then send to the refrigerator for 3 hours. Before serving it should be sprinkled with the remaining grated chocolate, you can also add ground nuts, sesame seeds, seeds.
And what do you cook and eat during Lent? Share your recipes with us in the comments to this article!
A source: What can you eat during the Nativity Fast (November 28-January 6)?
To live a long and cold winter in Russia and not indulge in despondency is a real feat. It is easier for Christians, because their winter road is illuminated by a bright star, a holiday to which you count the days with a sinking heart - the Nativity of Christ. The peak of winter, and before it - a test for body and spirit - a strict Christmas fast. We have collected the most common questions about this post, the answers to which will help an Orthodox person get ready for Christmas.
Dates of Nativity Fast
The time of the Nativity Fast is exactly 40 days. Fasting begins on November 27 according to the new style (in 2019, Wednesday November 27 is fast day) and continues until January 6 inclusive. On the night of January 7, Christians finish fasting and meet the peak of fasting, its main goal and meaning is the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. In every fast, including Christmas, there is a spell, otherwise - the eve of fasting. It falls on November 27 (in 2019 the conspiracy is November 26), this is the day on which the Orthodox Church remembers the life of the holy Apostle Philip. It is in honor of him that the Nativity Fast is also called Filippov (in the popular Filippovka). If the spell falls on one-day posts (Wednesday or Friday), then it moves to the previous day - November 26.
Why is the Nativity Fast needed
The Nativity Fast is a time for growing in God, for fervent prayer and good deeds. All the restrictions that a believer imposes on himself voluntarily - gastronomic fasting, refusal of entertainment - are needed not as an end in itself, not as a kind of ascetic exercise, but as preparation for the great holiday - the Nativity of Christ. The joyful day when Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, when the whole world rejoices, welcoming the Savior. We fast to enter this day clean, free from vanity and everything that harms our soul.
Food calendar: what you can eat during the Nativity Lent
The Nativity Fast is strict. During this period, Orthodox Christians abstain from meat, dairy products and eggs. Regarding eating fish, there are rules of varying severity. According to the mildest statute, fish can be eaten on all days except Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesdays and Fridays, one must not drink wine either, and food must be eaten without oil - this is called dry eating.
The Nativity Fast is the New Year. It is better for Orthodox Christians not to depart from fasting on this secular holiday. At the same time, in no case should you condemn your family and friends, who, unlike you, do not fast. It is better to put both lean and modest dishes on the New Year's table in order to keep the peace in the family and not to turn the household away from the faith with your condemnation.
In addition, even while observing all the gastronomic rigors of fasting, one must not forget that these forty days are primarily for the spirit, not for the body. And restrictions on food alone - without spiritual work, without sincere prayer, without help from neighbors - will not bear good fruit.
View the Christmas Fast Food Calendar
The history of the Nativity Fast
Christians began to distinguish the Nativity fast as a separate and multi-day fast from the 4th century. We find references to this fast in the writings of St. Augustine, St. Ambrose of Mediolan and Leo the Great.
Fasting became forty days after the council of 1166, which took place under the Patriarch of Constantinople Luke and the Byzantine emperor Manuel.
What Christmas eve
The last day of the Nativity Fast is called Christmas Eve. This word comes from the name of the dish - soothing. Juice is prepared from wheat, lentil or rice grains in memory of the fast of the prophet Daniel and three youths who ate from the seeds of the earth so as not to be defiled from a pagan meal (Dan 1, 8). Orthodox Christians prayerfully remember these saints just before the feast of the Nativity of Christ.
According to the church charter, it is eaten on the evening of January 6 after complete abstinence from food throughout the day.
Until what event does the Nativity Fast last?
Until what event the Nativity Fast lasts, we can guess from its very name. Christmas is the point at which this long forty-day period ends. This post lasts from November 28 to January 6 inclusive.
On January 7, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Nativity of Jesus Christ, a great holiday that reminds us of the day when the Savior came into the world - he was born of the Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem.
How to keep the Nativity Fast for laity
There is a lot of controversy in the Orthodox community about how to keep the Nativity Fast for the laity. The reason is that the rules of fasting food, which each of us read at least once in calendars, magazines and on church websites, refer, as a rule, to the so-called monastery Rule. But a layman does not have to fast as strictly as a monk.
If it is difficult to keep the harsh forty-day fast, you should ask your confessor or just the priest to whom you go to the local church for indulgence. What is relief? This means that your fast will not be as strict - due to your health or other reasons. After all, the meaning of the Nativity Lent is preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Christ, fasting is not an "Orthodox diet", it is a test for our spirit, which helps us to see the main thing and cut off all secondary things, focus on what the Gospel calls us to do. To become closer to the Lord through self-restraint.
On all days of Christmas fast, meat, dairy products and eggs are excluded from the Christian's diet. The peak of the fast, the Nativity of Christ, is preceded by the day of January 6, which is also called "Christmas Eve". This is the day of the strictest fasting - you can only eat bread, water and fruits. "Christmas Eve", from the word "syrup", is the faithful wheat that is traditionally eaten on the eve of Christmas.
Folk traditions of the Nativity Fast
In Russia, the Nativity Fast was also called Filippovki. The fact is that the spell (the last day of eating meat before the beginning of one of the three - Rozhdestvensky, Petrov, Uspensky - multi-day fasts) fell on the feast day of the holy Apostle Philip - November 27 in a new style.
Filippov's day had other names: Kudelitsa, Zagovene, Launches or Launches among the Belarusians, Philip. Kudelitsa - the first week of spinning in Filippov post. In the evenings and at night, with a torch, the women scratched, pulled, twisted, wound yarn and said: "The lazy spinner has no shirt to himself." “The spinning wheel is not God, but gives a shirt”, “You won't strain it in the winter, there will be nothing to weave in the summer”, “Don't be lazy to spin, you will dress well”.
On Kudelitsy in the villages, the last weddings were played before fasting: the Church did not bless to marry and get married during fasting. From Filippov's day, the "wolf month" begins: wolves huddled in flocks and crept close to the huts.
Nativity Fast for Catholics
The Nativity Fast among Catholics is in many ways similar in meaning to the Orthodox one. In Western countries, Christmas is celebrated on December 25, and it is interesting that believers give a so-called "decree" before fasting, that is, they indicate what and how they will restrict themselves - whether in food, in some kind of pleasure. Also, the decree can be a promise to do deeds of mercy - go to nursing homes, make regular charitable donations, and much more.
Even Catholics have such a concept as "Advent". These are four Sundays before the birth of Christ, the days when you need to be especially focused, reflect on why Christ came into the world and what His good news was to all Christians.
How to celebrate the Nativity Fast?
Archpriest Igor FOMIN, rector of the Church of the Holy Blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky at MGIMO, answers:
Each person needs to define his own measure of fasting. One can take the fast in full, and it will be good for him. Others, on the contrary, should relax their fast.
Sick people can fast not as strictly as it is written in the Charter. Disease is also a kind of fasting, humility of the flesh. In addition, with some diseases, fasting can be harmful to your health. Listen to yourself, ask your doctor for advice.
Pregnant women have their own measure of fasting; from military personnel; those who work in a tense rhythm or study.
The most important thing is that "you cannot eat during the fast" - these are your neighbors. I'm talking about anger, irritation, quarrels and any other negative behavior that destroys peace between people. Indeed, by acting badly with our neighbors, we also destroy the bridge between us and God. Of course, a special topic is children's fasting. Sometimes it is better to agree with the children that during Great Lent, for example, they will eat fewer sweets than to impose restrictions on them in dairy and meat foods. In any case, with all doubts and questions about fasting, I advise you to approach your confessor or priest whom you trust.
Christmas fast for children
The Nativity Fast for children is a special, very delicate topic. What will be the children's fast, it is necessary to decide separately for each Orthodox family. It is best to do this together with a spiritual father who knows both the parents and the child and can give spiritual advice on what will be useful and what will not.
Children do not need to fast to the fullest extent of monastic fasting. After all, what is the main meaning of the Nativity Fast? In preparation for Christmas, in the education of the soul. It is often much better to agree with your child that, for example, during the fast he will eat less sweets and will not watch TV. Such a restriction will be a much greater feat for the baby, and this feat will have a deeper meaning than giving up meat, for example.
Is it possible to celebrate the New Year at Christmas Lent?
Archpriest Igor FOMIN, rector of the Church of the Holy Blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky at MGIMO, answers:
For the New Year, you can make two tables - lean and regular. From personal experience, I know that lean dishes may not differ at all from non-fast ones in their deliciousness and originality. And even surpass them.
Let the preparation of two tables be one of your "lean" actions, a sign of humility in front of your family. If you know for sure that loved ones will conflict with you because they will not put a piece of sausage or meat salad on their plate (which, by the way, can be perfectly cooked, for example, with crabs) - go to meet them. Let them choose for themselves.
The fact is that fasting is a deeply personal state of a person. Everyone has their own measure of fasting. If you want to fast strictly, please. But treat those who do not fast with respect. Whether for health or for some other reason. New Year is a family holiday, and peace and harmony must be preserved. You might as well raise a glass of champagne or wine with your parents.
As for New Year's fun, walking with children, sledding - I don't see anything wrong with that. Whenever it is - Christmas or Great Lent. If children are happy, if this is a miracle and a fairy tale for them, how can you refuse them?
Launch fireworks on New Years - launch them on Christmas as well, or better - twice as many! Children are having fun, and you will slowly refocus them on a more important holiday.
Nativity Fast and New Year
Priest Svyatoslav Shevchenko
Christmas fast and New Year - how to combine these two holidays, church and secular? This question worries many, especially if there are children in the family who are looking forward to the New Year, Christmas trees and gifts with much more impatience than adults, and who will find it difficult to understand if their parents categorically say: "We are fasting, we cannot celebrate the New Year." ...
Yes, on the one hand, it is useful for Orthodox Christians not to give up fasting on the New Year, and to continue to observe restrictions on food. After all, the Nativity Fast lasts until January 6 inclusive, and the New Year's table, bursting with delicious dishes, does little to match the asceticism and thoughtful path of fasting.
But the fasting person should observe the measure in everything and approach everything in a Christian way. If there are both believers and unbelievers in the family, in no case should you bring discord into the house, condemn loved ones who do not fast. A quarrel in front of the table with food that was prepared with love can nullify all the spiritual victories that the fasting person has accomplished. The best way to solve the question of how to spend the New Year, if you are fasting, but relatives and friends are not, is to put both lean and light (not lean) dishes on the New Year's table. By the way, preparing two tables is a wonderful "lean" act, your good will, your humility before each person is free to choose whether to fast or not.
The same goes for New Year's fun - street festivities, sledding downhill, fireworks and round dances around the tree. If children and adults are happy, if for the former it is a fairy tale, and for the latter it is a sweet reminder of childhood, there is nothing wrong with that. Of course, on Christmas fast, as, indeed, at any other time, one cannot indulge in "unkind" fun, including drinking alcohol without measure.
Wedding on the eve of the Nativity Fast
A wedding on the eve of the Nativity Lent - can it be done? This is a question that has a clear answer for an Orthodox person. The Sacrament of Wedding is not performed during Great, Petrov, Dormition and Nativity fasts. The only option when an exception can be made to this rule is a special instruction from the ruling bishop.
Is it possible to make a wedding on the Nativity Fast
The answer to the question whether it is possible to have a wedding on the Nativity Fast is negative. The fact is that the Sacrament of Wedding according to the Charter of the Orthodox Church do not perform during the Great, Petrov, Dormition and Christmas fasts. The ban on the performance of the Sacrament coincides with those days when the Church does not bless marital (intimate) relationships, namely, during fasting, on the eve of fasting days (Wednesday and Friday) and on the eve of major holidays.
Is it possible to sign for the Nativity Fast
There are no clear rules in the Orthodox Church about whether it is possible to sign for the Nativity Fast. The sacrament of Marriage must always be preceded by a civil registration of marriage, but the Wedding itself is not performed during the Great, Petrov, Dormition and Nativity fasts.
Of course, a couple can “sign at the registry office,” and postpone the wedding until later, but it is better to ask the confessor for this blessing, to consult with him about what will be better.
Conception on Nativity Fast
There is a lot of controversy among Orthodox Christians about whether it is possible to become pregnant on the Nativity Lent and whether conception on the Nativity Lent will be sinful. The reason is that the prohibition on the celebration of the sacrament of wedding coincides with those days when the Church does not bless intimate relationships between spouses, namely during fasting, on the eve of fasting days (Wednesday and Friday) and before major holidays.
But a child conceived on the Nativity Fast is the same child of God as any other - beloved, long-awaited, worthy of salvation. That such a child is unwanted by the Lord is a dangerous superstition that no true Christian should allow into his heart.
Preparing for Communion at Nativity Fast
The preparation for Communion on the Nativity Fast is, in fact, no different from the usual preparation for this Sacrament. But it also has its own special meaning. When a Christian is in the process of preparing for a great holiday, when he tunes in spiritual harmony day after day, when he restricts himself in food and pleasure, the Sacrament often becomes even deeper, even more important to him.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh spoke beautifully about the Nativity Fast of Communion in his sermon: “Fasting does not mean that you need to beg God even more persistently than usual; fasting does not mean coming to Communion more often than usual. Fasting is a time when we must face the judgment of God, listen to the voice of our conscience - and abstain from the Sacrament if we cannot partake worthily. And to partake worthily means that before each Communion we must be reconciled with those with whom we are at odds; we must stop at the thoughts of our mind and heart, which convict us of treason to God and unfaithfulness to people - and do something in this direction; we must be reconciled with the Living God, so that it does not appear that He died for us in vain. Therefore, our task now is to think deeply about ourselves, to subject ourselves to a merciless, strict judgment and to approach Communion through confession, through repentance, through a thorough test of our own life. "
Unction at Nativity Fast
Unction on Nativity Fast is a rarer phenomenon than unction on Great Fast. As a rule, unction is performed once a year, and it is during Great Lent.
Unction is prayer, in which we ask God for the forgiveness of our forgotten sins. It is the forgotten, in this, in particular, the meaning of unction, what distinguishes it from the Sacrament of Communion.
Unction it is called so because several priests gather to perform it. As the prayer book says, the priest should be seven, but, of course, it happens that one priest does everything. It is important that unction is performed not only on the sick, it is important and useful for every Orthodox Christian.
The essence of the Christmas fast
The essence of the Nativity Fast, of course, is not only about restrictions on food, although they are also important. Starting from a gastronomic, bodily fasting, a Christian advances in spiritual work - he learns to be responsible for his life through conscious self-restraint. Fasting in food is not an end in itself, but only a means to growth in Christ, another step towards the Lord and the fulfillment of His commandments.
The Nativity Fast is also called Filippov, and in common parlance, Filippovka. Why Filippov? The fact is that the eve of fasting (which is called a spell) falls on the feast day of the holy Apostle Philip - November 27 in the new style.
This is an Orthodox fast, which was established in honor of one of the greatest events in the history of our faith - the Nativity of Christ, the day when the Savior came into the world to transform it and each of us once and for all.
The Nativity Fast lasts from November 28 to January 6 inclusive - according to the new style. This is the last multi-day fast of the year, which concludes the calendar year and prepares us for Christmas. This fast lasts forty days, just like Great Lent. By the way, it is for this reason that he, like the Great One, is called the Forty-Year.
To better understand the essence of the Nativity Fast, every Christian should read the troparion and kontakion of the feast of the Nativity of Christ, and even better - study the entire festive service, not forgetting about the translation from Church Slavonic - in order to really understand what is being sung in the church.
Troparion, voice 4th: Thy Christmas, Christ our God, ascend the world the light of reason, in it I learn to serve the stars, bow to the Sun of Truth and guide You from the height of the East: Lord, glory to Thee! Transfer: Thy birth, Christ our God, gave the world the light of reason, those who serve the stars (magicians) from the star have learned to worship You, the Sun of Truth, and to know You from the height of the East. Lord, glory to Thee!
Kontakion, voice 3: The Virgin today is the Most Substantial, and the earth brings the nativity scene to the Unapproachable: the angels glorify with the shepherds, and they travel with the star: for the sake of us born Otroch is young, the Eternal God. Transfer: The Virgin today gives birth to the Most Substantial, and the earth gives a cave to the Unapproachable: Angels with the shepherds celebrate, the Magi travel after the star: for our sake a young Child, the eternal God, was born.
Photo www.flikr.com, Saint-Petersburg Theological Academy
Christmas post starts on November 28 and ends on January 6. On Christmas fast, believers are preparing to meet the bright holiday of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, the Savior.
The Nativity Fast is less strict than Great Lent and Dormition Lent.
Christmas fast food calendar
November 28 to January 2
Fasting without meat, eggs and dairy products.
Fish during the Nativity Fast is allowed on Saturdays and Sundays and great holidays , for example, on the feast of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos, on temple feasts and on the days of the great saints, if these days fall on Tuesday or Thursday.
Wine in moderation is permissible on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on the days of commemoration of the most revered saints.
Patients, children and pregnant women are allowed to relax physical fasting.
Fasting without fish, meat, eggs and dairy products
Christmas Eve is a day of strict fasting.
It is better to coordinate the measure of your fasting with your confessor - repost is as bad as not fasting .
the main thing - during fasting, you must definitely prepare for confession and partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ, try to lead a more collected life, not condemn, not slander and do good deeds.
Questions about fasting nutrition
At the beginning of the post, I feel normal and physically I tolerate the post normally, and by the end I can hardly stand it. When I fasted for the first time on the Nativity Fast, I got a stomach ache, so I broke the fast. How to eat during fasting if you get sick while fasting?
Yes, if serious health problems arise, then the fast can be weakened (with the blessing of the priest), but you do not need to bring yourself to such a state. Indeed, judging by your letter, your problems are not because of your health, but because you are too lazy to cook during the fast. The Lenten table can be varied, tasty, and healthy. For a sick stomach, by the way, oatmeal boiled in water is very useful - what is non-fasting? On our site there are recipes for lean dishes, there are even special cookbooks, there would be a desire to cook! Best regards, Priest Alexander Ilyashenko
Is it okay to drink alcohol during fasting?
Archpriest Alexander Ilyashenko answers
During fasts of many days, on some days a stricter fast is prescribed, on others some indulgences are permissible. So alcoholic drinks in moderation are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on the days of commemoration of the most revered saints. Fish is also allowed during the Nativity Fast on the same days. But these are general rules, and the measure of fasting for each should be determined individually in a personal conversation with the priest. God help you!
I try to fast, but when I visit relatives or acquaintances, I am treated to completely non-lean dishes. How should I proceed in this case? And is it also true that in such cases it is impossible to refuse meals and openly say that I am fasting? In such cases, I usually eat a small portion of the non-fast food, and from the next day I continue to fast. Am I doing the right thing?
It all depends on the situation. If your relatives know that you are fasting, then by eating the meat, you can seduce them. They will decide that your faith and fasting are superficial, which you can easily give up on occasion. The Apostle Paul says that “if food tempts my brother, I will not eat meat forever, so as not to seduce my brother.” On the other hand, it so happens that refusal to eat something, especially prepared for you, may be perceived by the owners of the table as an insult and will cause resentment. In this case, it is better to sacrifice one day of fasting than human relations. Respectfully yours, Priest Anthony Skrynnikov.
Please tell me how to determine the golden mean in fasting - between gluttony (both gluttony and guttural delusion), the lust of the flesh and the crazy fanatical inflection in fasting, i.e. how to fast in a normal way.
The priest Dionisy Svechnikov answers
Hello, Eugene, everyone must determine for himself the measure of abstinence, preferably in consultation with the priest. What is madness for one is commonplace for another, and what for one lust is for another the norm of life. All people are different. And the Church shows us in the charter the ideal of fasting. You can fast according to the charter - God help you! If you cannot - fast as you can, but at the same time do not blame the fanaticism of the one who can. The main thing is not to give up some food during the fast, but to learn abstinence. Abstinence not only in food, but also in words, in actions, in deeds.
Hello. I have no willpower to fast with regard to food. When I don't eat meat, I become angry and irritable, rude. I know that the main thing in fasting is not only abstinence from food, but a deeper look into oneself, trying to correct something in oneself with God's help, and yet ... I probably find it easier not to watch a movie or TV again than not to eat meat Well, what should I do, since I am such a spiritual disabled person, I can’t read the rule regularly, it’s beyond my strength ... I can’t do anything regularly. Sometimes there are even thoughts that Orthodoxy is not for me, but I cannot live without Christ, without Communion (even if it is infrequent).
Archpriest Alexander Ilyashenko answers:
First of all, we should not accept the fact that we are “spiritually disabled”, and recognize this state as our only possible one until the end of the century. Fighting your passions and weaknesses is, in fact, the purpose of fasting. And to come to such a struggle and win it is possible only after regular and difficult "training", and, of course, with the help of God.
You write about irritability. But this applies not only to you, this applies to many people - this is a fairly common reaction. But this irritability does not appear from fasting, but manifests itself through fasting - that is, it is not something that comes only during fasting, but something that is always in us for one reason or another, just due to some restrictions this sin is more vivid manifests itself. Just one of the goals of fasting is to identify certain sins in oneself and to fight with them.
It is useless to fight the weeds, tearing off only the leaves with them, but leaving the roots in the ground - the weed will germinate again, and the root will become stronger during this time. You cannot fight irritability by “feeding” it with meat - you need to look for its real reason and fight it. Fasting exposes our "weak points", makes us see and feel them more clearly, and therefore the natural reaction should not be a desire to "hide" these ulcers again, but to make efforts to remove them forever. Of course, this is a long and difficult path, and it is better to start it together with an experienced guide - a priest who will tell you exactly where you should start this path, discuss with you the results of the first steps, tell you where and how to move on. Therefore, I advise you to go to church and discuss questions about fasting in a personal conversation with the priest, tell him about your problems and ask for advice on how best to accustom yourself to fasting and overcome irritability and rudeness. God's help to you in this difficult struggle!
So we have entered a period that is special for every believer - the Nativity Fast. We received the blessing for the exercises in fasting, congratulated the brothers and sisters in Christ on the beginning of this secret time, and began our feat. What will it be like? What will we be like during the fast? Can we learn to be at least a bit more self-control, more patient? Depends on ... us.
“Bless me, father, to the post, so that I can endure it.” One sister asked the rector of the church. The good-natured priest, smiling, blessed and added: "And to endure, let’s work on your own."
Christmas post (also called Filippov's fast) each year invariably begins and ends at the same time. It originates on November 28 after the memorable day of the Apostle Philip (November 27). The Nativity Fast ends on January 6 before the Nativity of Christ.
All this time we fast in order to come cleansed, renewed, contrite at the time of the Birth of Jesus Christ. The days of the Nativity Fast are special days of exercise in the struggle with passions. With the help and blessing of God, we drive away all the stench from our hearts and cultivate healing virtues in it - repentance, abstinence, prayer, mercy ... And we begin “cleaning up” with bodily abstinence.
In the fight against gluttony, we learn to refrain from evil deeds, words, and even thoughts. Since through gluttony, as if in a chain, the rest of the passions receive strength, a decisive struggle with it helps in victory over all others (fornication, avarice, anger, sadness, despondency, vanity, pride).
The outer side of fasting is abstaining from certain types of food.
^ Eating at the Nativity Fast
The Nativity Fast is not as strict in food abstinence as, for example, the Great Fast. In terms of severity, it is similar to Peter's fast. According to the Church Charter, products of animal origin are prohibited: meat, milk and dairy products, eggs. On certain days, the Rule prohibits monastics from eating fish and oil (vegetable oil). To familiarize our readers, we will give as an example the table of the monastic fasting norm. These norms were adopted in the 17th century and are reflected in the Typikon, which is now adopted in the Russian Church.
There are other norms for lay people. So, for example, we, worldly people, adhere to the dry food during the Christmas fast only on Christmas Eve. The laity negotiate the rate of fasting with their confessor or with the priest, to whom they most often confess. For relaxation or, on the contrary, a stricter fast, a blessing is asked from the priest, otherwise you can excessively exhaust your strength or fall into poisonous pride.
Now let's move on to the most interesting part - the practical part of the Nativity Fast.
^ Shifting from light to lean food
With the beginning of the fast, the quality of our food changes dramatically. It becomes less high-calorie, digested faster. Therefore, the transition from light foods to simpler, lean ones is often not easy. It is especially difficult when a Christian beginner tries to fast for the first time. This is where the phenomenon often happens, which is called “jealousy not according to the Spirit”. A person takes upon himself a very large measure of fasting, for example, he undertakes to observe it according to monastic standards and ... his body declares a “strike”, which manifests itself in:
- Exhaustion, weakness;
- Headaches, dizziness;
- Indigestion (usually diarrhea);
- Suddenly developed gastritis, due to which severe pain in the stomach.
Such an unsuccessful fasting experience can not only turn away from fasting, but even from faith. Therefore, first advice: if you are just starting to fast, do not take on an unbearable burden, do not hesitate to discuss the measure of abstinence with a priest, otherwise the consequences are dire for both body and soul.
Let us recall Abba Dorotheos and his disciple Dositheus. How did he teach Dositheus to abstain? Smoothly, gradually, on a small piece, the mentor reduced the student's portion of bread. In the end, Dosifei began to be content with very little, and this was enough for him to maintain his strength.
You and I must adhere to this gradualness, otherwise by the end of the Nativity Fast, when abstinence is especially strict, we will simply exhaust our physical and emotional strength, “break down”.
The next point in the transition to lean food is number of servings ... As the quality of food changes, it is less high in calories, then we need more of it. Lean food is absorbed faster, and, accordingly, we feel hunger faster. Many believers are oppressed by this “zhor” at the beginning of the fast. But let's not be embarrassed, from the point of view of physiological processes, this is normal. With a repentant sigh about your weakness at this time, you should increase the number of portions. This is especially true for those who have problems with the digestive system (for example, cholecystitis). Eat small meals every 2.5-3 hours. A little later, the body will get used to it, the most important thing is not to upset it in the first 3 days.
^ Secret to fasting food faster
Nativity Fast, like any fast, is a great time to learn how to chew food thoroughly. An important secret lies in the careful mechanical processing of the food lump: we fill up faster when we chew food 32 times. While the jaws are chewing, and the brain is counting the number of chewing movements, the signal of saturation has time to reach the center in the brain. And here's a miracle: instead of two bowls of porridge, we eat one! Thus, we bring the size of the stomach back to normal, and its elongation disappears.
^ Drink more
Drink more clean water between meals. Our body very often gives out strange signals about thirst. It seems to us that we want to eat, but in fact, this is how the desire to drink is masked. Thus, hunger must be experienced: if you really want to eat, then after drinking a glass of water, the desire to eat does not disappear. Hunger subsided after some water? Great, you declassified thirst. And they put off eating later, isn't it really important, especially during fasting?
^ Dangerous "lean" foods
More and more people want to fast. We will not speculate here for what purpose someone is fasting. But about new wonderful products that are ready to support during the fasting period, it is necessary to mention. We are talking about products that are formally lean. In reality, however, they can hardly be called such. Do you think the Lord would like you to eat a packet of chips instead of a quality piece of meat, for example? Hardly. The physical shell given to us must be treated with love, which manifests itself not in gluttony, but in taking care of health. It seems that healthy eating should be the basis of fasting.
So, what do we attribute to foods that are harmful to the Nativity Fast?
^ 1. Chips and French fries
If you want to get an abundance of carcinogens in your body - eat chips! The vegetable oil used in the manufacture of chips and fries is not sunflower at all, but rapeseed and palm oil, known for their carcinogenic properties, and their heat treatment turns these fats into transgenic ones. The harm of transgenic fats has been proven absolutely for sure - they contribute to the development of cancer cells.
The chemicals with which these products are endowed - flavors, colorants, stabilizers, flavor enhancers, etc. - are detrimental to health. They deceive our gustatory nerve endings, and we imagine the uniqueness of taste, smell ...
^ 2. Lean mayonnaise
To make regular mayonnaise, you need eggs, vegetable oil, salt and sugar, mustard powder, vinegar or citric acid. If the mayonnaise is factory-made, then there are also chemical components to avoid spoilage (this mayonnaise can be stored in the refrigerator for years and not spoil). With lean mayonnaise, everything is the same, only so-called vegetable protein is added instead of egg powder (of which origin is unknown). We probably can't do without salads with lean mayonnaise on holidays. But on the rest of the days of the Nativity Fast, you need to take care of your health and refrain from this product.
^ 3. Spread vegetable-fat
This butter substitute is often marketed as “lean”. The composition should be free of animal fat (as in butter), dangerous hydrogenated fats (as in margarine). In reality, as in margarine, only in smaller quantities, this spread contains trans fats obtained by hydrogenation (conversion of liquid fat into solid). Hydrogenated fats in food are a factor in the development of cancerous tumors, arterial wall disorders, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
^ 4. Lean cookies
Lean cookies, like simple cookies, contain a lot of palm oil, about which we know a lot of bad things (from fecal stones to the ability to stimulate the development of cancer).
^ 5. Soy products: milk, yoghurts, meat, cottage cheese.
These substitutes for the products we are accustomed to are very successful taste buds, but their health is unpredictable. Most soy products are genetically modified. The harmful effect of GMOs is controversial, but still there is no need to risk it. In addition, soy is one of the largest consumers of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. In this regard, it is very harmful to get carried away with soy food during the Christmas fast.
Here is the spiritual side of the issue. We are trying to cultivate abstinence. Meat and milk substitutes are very similar to the “original” in taste. Eating plentifully of soy products, we are unlikely to defeat the addiction to taste sensations.
So, it would be extremely dishonest, for example, to think that you are fasting and eating soy meat every day. Probably, we all do not like it when our children eat junk food. It seems that we also need to be afraid to upset the Heavenly Father by deliberately inflicting wounds on our body - by using harmful products - especially during the period of time devoted to preparing for a meeting with Him during the Nativity Fast.
It would be more honest to take a blessing for indulgence in fasting, at first, than to use harmful substitutes.
The choice of useful, well, or less harmful, foods during the fast is quite large:
- all cereals (rice, buckwheat, millet, rolled oats, pearl barley, etc.),
- all vegetables. Do not forget about sauerkraut, seaweed, broccoli and cauliflower, peas and corn, beans, lentils, as well as the usual onions, garlic, carrots, beets, potatoes, turnips, radishes.
A useful and quick solution for a modern person's dinner during the Nativity Fast is frozen vegetable mixes. Choose your favorite vegetables and simply sauté them in the pan. You can add mushrooms to them. Fast and delicious!
- fish, caviar;
- bread (see that there is no milk, eggs, margarine in the composition);
- dried fruits (raisins, dried apricots, prunes, etc.) and nuts for tea;
^ Christmas fast and personal holidays
It often happens that our personal holidays, such as birthdays, fall on Christmas fast. If possible, it would be good to postpone the celebration until the end of the fast. If Christmas time is still very long, then you can celebrate a personal holiday, carefully preserving your soul from unnecessary noise, dancing and amusement, on one of the Sundays. Naturally, there should be lean foods on the table.
If the holiday falls on a time from 2 to 6 January, then air
Stay away from celebration. Very soon there will be an opportunity to celebrate your holiday together with the Born Christ!
Idea! Festive lean sandwich: spread a piece of bread with honey, cut slices of bananas on top. It turns out to be a real cake!
Let us fast by fasting that is pleasant and useful for both soul and body!
Rozhdestvensky (Filippov) post installed in honor of the holiday Nativity ... For Orthodox Christians, this post is always starts November 28 and lasts until January 6 inclusive. Fasting lasts 40 days, it is inferior in severity to Lent, since hot food with vegetable oil, as well as fish, seafood and wine, is quite often allowed.
Fasting Eve November 27, 2020 is Friday - Memorial Day of the Apostle Philip , therefore the post is also called Filippov. The popular name of the Nativity Fast is Filippovki .
In 2020, the Nativity Fast is read on Saturday 28 November. On New Year's Day (Friday night), small indulgences are allowed for believers. Fasting ends with the onset of Christmas, on the night of Thursday, January 7th.
Christmas fast: traditions and rules
The Nativity Fast is dedicated to preparation for one of the two most important Christian holidays: the Nativity of Christ. Fasting was established in the period of early Christianity, it is observed by representatives of all confessions. In Orthodoxy, fasting is observed stricter.
According to the rules, during the entire fast, Orthodox believers completely refuse meat and dairy products, and eggs are also prohibited. On some days fish, seafood and wine are allowed. Traditionally, the sick, the elderly, small children, pregnant and lactating women are exempted from fasting; less strictly it is allowed to be observed by travelers, military personnel, as well as those who are in places of deprivation of liberty.
During Christmas fast, believers also strive to give up worldly entertainment, devote more time to prayer, as well as charity.
According to the rules, the most restrictive fasting restrictions apply on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The strictest monastic charter prescribes dry food on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with the exception of the holidays falling on the fasting period). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can eat hot lean food with vegetable oil, wine is allowed. Fish and seafood and wine are allowed on Saturday and Sunday. However, for the laity, there are softer rules, which are reflected in FAN infographics full meal calendar by day for Christmas fast 2020/2021.
The Nativity Fast is divided into three stages: the first - from November 28 to December 19; the second - from December 20 to January 1; the third - from 2 to 6 January. The strictest is the third stage, preceding the holiday of Christmas.
There are two important holidays during the Nativity Fast. This is a celebration in honor Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos which is celebrated on Friday, December 4th, and Memorial Day of Nicholas the Wonderworker (Nicholas winter) , celebrated on Saturday, December 19th. On these days, food with vegetable oil, fish and seafood, as well as wine are allowed. Read more about these holidays in the materials of FAN.
On New Years, the church recommends a compromise, especially during family feasts. Pastors advise believers not to emphasize their fasting and not to boast of their holiness at a common table. Those who celebrate the New Year according to the Soviet tradition, with a drink and a hearty snack, are advised to give up the habit of “teaching to live” those who adhere to other rules.
The third post-New Year stage of fasting is considered the strictest. On Christmas Eve, January 6, it is customary to refuse food altogether until the first star appears in the sky, symbolizing the Nativity of Christ. After the stars appear in the sky, fasting people break their fast with a special Christmas dish consisting of boiled wheat grains, seasoned with honey, raisins and nuts. After breaking the fast, the faithful begin a festive meal, which is traditionally very plentiful.
For the next 40 days, Orthodox Christians who observe the fast will have to abstain from meat, poultry, milk, cheese, eggs and other animal products. But the Christmas fast is not very strict, so fish can be eaten on some days.
How to observe the fast correctly, on what days you can eat fish, and when - only cereals and vegetables, our nutrition calendar will tell you:
Lent comes on a rolling schedule, each year at a different time, but Christmas has constant start and end dates for fasting. It always starts on November 28th and ends on January 6th.
Compared to the Great and the Dormition Fast, the Nativity Fast is much milder. Most of the days you can put fish dishes on the table, dry eating is recommended only in the last week of fasting, the day when it is better for those who are fasting to abstain from food is only one, this is the last day of fasting.
Do's and Don'ts
On all days it is not allowed to eat food derived from warm-blooded animals. That is, all meat products: beef, pork, meat of various poultry, sausages and so on. Dairy products and bird eggs are prohibited.
But fish and seafood are lean foods, since these animals are cold-blooded. They are allowed, but not every day. Let's take a look at the different categories of fast days.
Complete refusal of food. Everything is clear here, those who fast drink only water during the day. There is only one such day on Christmas Eve: Christmas Eve, January 6th. You can't eat anything until the evening, and you need to break the fast in the evening with a special porridge (oozing).
Xerophagy. In the monastic tradition, dry eating is recommended on almost all Wednesdays and Fridays of the Nativity Lent. For the laity, the restrictions are not so strict: dry eating days appear only in the last week, from January 2 to 6.
On these days, cold food is allowed, not thermally processed: raw vegetables and fruits, pickles and pickles, nuts, sometimes honey. The exception is bread: although it is cooked in the oven, you can eat it, but, of course, lean, without sugar and vegetable oil in the composition.
Dry eating is the most difficult type of fasting. Therefore, the church recommends asking the blessing of the confessor to keep it.
Hot food without oil. According to the monastery tradition, hot food without oil is served on the table on Mondays all weeks of the Nativity Fast. For laymen, dry eating on Wednesday and Friday is replaced by hot food without oil, and on Mondays you can indulge in hot food with butter.
Hot food with butter. Days marked with the "oil" icon in church calendars mean that you can cook vegetables, cereals, legumes with the addition of a spoonful of vegetable oil.
Fish day. You can eat fish cooked with vegetable oil, garnished with vegetables and cereals. Also on fish days you can eat caviar and seafood. With seafood, the question is interesting. So, for example, the Greek tradition classifies them as lean food, with no daily restrictions. But the Russian Church does not make such generalizations: seafood is allowed on those days when fish is also available.Wine.
To maintain strength, fasting people are allowed to drink some red wine on weekends. But a little is not a couple of glasses, but a small 50 ml cup. It is even better to dilute this wine with hot water.
The three parts of the Nativity Fast
The monastic tradition divides the winter fast into three parts.
1 part of the post. November 28 - December 19. The softest part of the post. According to the monastery tradition, dry eating is practiced on Wednesday and Friday, on Monday - hot food without oil, and fish is allowed on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. For laymen, it is common for dry eating to be replaced by hot food without oil these days.
Part 2 of the post. December 20 - January 1. The middle part of the post is stricter than the first. Fish only on weekends, and hot food with butter on Tuesday and Thursday. This is in the monastic tradition, in the secular tradition, most often everything is the same as in the first half of Lent.
Part 3 of the post. January 2-6. The strictest part of the post. It is no longer possible to fish at all, there is one hungry day. For the worldly tradition, there are days of dry eating (Wednesday and Friday).
During the Nativity Lent, two major holidays are celebrated: December 4 - Entry into the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos, December 19 - Memorial Day of St. Nicholas. On these days, you can put fish dishes on the table and drink a glass of wine, even if the holidays are on Wednesday and Friday.
New year's night
The night from December 31 to January 1 is not a holiday for the Orthodox tradition. Old Style New Year begins on January 14th. And a secular holiday during Lent is not a reason to break it. So fish dishes can be put on the table only on Thursday, December 31, and on January 1, you will have to do with a hot, lean meal without oil.
January 6, the day before Christmas, is called Christmas Eve. In it, you need to refuse food until the evening, before the first stars appear. It's good that it gets dark very early in January. You need to talk with a special porridge, oozing, as they call grains of wheat or other cereals boiled in honey. The simplest version of sochi is rice with dried fruits.
1 cup rice 50 g raisins 50 g prunes 50 g dried apricots 50 g almonds 3 tbsp l. honey
Step 1. Rinse the rice, add cold water and bring to a boil. Step 2. Throw in a colander and rinse again with cold water. Then pour 1.5 cups of cold water and cook until tender without removing the lid. Step 3. Steam dried fruits in hot water (15-20 minutes). Chop prunes and dried apricots. Crush the almonds. Step 4. If all the water has not boiled away, it should be drained, cool the rice. Step 5. Add dried fruits, honey and nuts to the rice.