The Holy Season for Christians is not over. Christmas time crosses December till thE 6th of January for two reasons:
– The Armenian Orthodox Christmas
– the Epiphany.
Traditions in Lebanon and most of the world is to keep the Christmas tree and decorations till after the 6th of January, time for Armenians to celebrate their Christmas and for Christians to celebrate the Epiphany. Many Christians around the world annually celebrate Epiphany on January 6. It is a public holiday in many countries including Lebanon and marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible. The event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when St John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
The traditions are different as some celebrate with the “Galette des Rois”, which is a special cake with a crown on it, and this crown will go to whom will find the small statue of the king inside the cake.
The old Lebanese traditions are very different and much more entertaining. At Epiphany, or “Ghtass”, people greet each other by saying Deyim Deyim, which is a wish for others to always have all the blessings as food and wealth and health, etc. On this night, women prepare many kind of special sweets made of a special dough, which they make in different shapes that they dip and fry in boiling oil, as a symbol that reminds us how Jesus got into the water of the Jordan River to get baptized by John.
Traditions also include putting water under the Christmas tree and keep the bottle open so it will be blessed when Jesus passes at midnight. And to receive Jesus, we keep the patio and entrance lights on all night.
All this might not mean anything for someone who is not used to it, but for us, Lebanese or Middle Eastern Christians, this is part of life joys, as it always reminds us of her beautiful childhood, that was away from technology and full of simple and natural joy given by our loving parents.
I would like to believe in all this, although it might not make sense to many people, rather than following the new trends of life that are obviously leading us to a dangerous cliff. I would like to wait till midnight and hear the bells of the churches in my neighborhood raining to announce to midnight mass for who would like to attend, or simply to remind us of Jesus passing to visit and bless our homes.
God Almighty, Bless our homes even if we might not deserve it, forgive our sins, and clean our hearts with your Holy Spirit and through your holy water.
Deyim Deyim and Merry Christmas to all the Armenians who are celebrating Christmas today.