Orthodox Church Question regarding Fasting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-05-2010, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do those of you that are members of the Orthodox Church handle it when birthdays and secular holidays ( I'm thinking Thanksgiving mostly) fall during fast times? Was just reading about the fast prior to Nativity and if it starts Nov 15th what do you do on Thanksgiving? Especially if you are a convert and the rest of the extended family ( your parents and siblings ) are not Orthodox?
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#2 of 9 Old 03-05-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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Thanksgiving depends on if you're Old Calendar (13 days behind the Gregorian or civil calendar) or New Calendar (Gregorian - fixed date feasts like Christmas are celebrated at the same time as Western Christianity).

If you're Old Calendar, T'giving usually falls before the beginning of the Nativity Fast (aka Advent, as some call it). So not much of a problem. If you're New Calendar, it depends on your bishop and your priest. Some tell you it's OK to break the fast for one day and others don't. But if you go to dinner at someone else's home most will tell you to just eat what's set in front you and don't make a big production about your fasting.

As for b-days and such, well, mine has ALWAYS fallen within Lent (March 20), even when I was a Catholic growing up. You can always have a special fasting meal - such as shellfish, if you can eat it. My b-day falls on a Saturday this year, for example, and we've got choir practice after Vespers that evening. I'm going to cook my spicy Moroccan shrimp dinner for the choir. My way of celebrating. You don't go overboard and no big blow-outs, but you can still have a special meal.

You just invite people over and you cook for them what YOU can eat. I've got some Middle Eastern recipes that are so scrumptious that people don't miss the meat!

If Memorial Day or Fourth of July fall on a fasting day, put some shrimp on the barbie! Or have some soy burgers or something similar.

You get used to it very quickly - the fasting becomes such a regular part of your life.

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#3 of 9 Old 03-05-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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The articles here - a now-defunct Orthodox family magazine - might be helpful with these sorts of issues:

http://www.theologic.com/oflweb/archive.htm

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#4 of 9 Old 03-05-2010, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good to know, even if the question was a little premature since Thanksgiving is quite a ways off.
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#5 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 01:24 AM
 
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Showing love to your family, keeping peace, even the non-Orthodox family is a much higher priority than what food goes into your mouth. The fast is not a legalistic ritual to be kept while mowing over the feelings of those people who do not understand it. it is to our benefit but sometimes so is showing love to our family. Sometimes we just have to do the best we can with a situation. But for what it is worth, our Bishop has given us his belssing to celebrate, eat and be thankful for all Gods goodness on Thanksgiving. he sends a letter out restating it every year. but officially, in North America, Greek Othodox Christians do NOT fast on thanksgiving. It is a feast day.

We also have many birthdays and name days and such over fasts. It is easy for me because I am mostly vegan and can make a mighty fine birthday cake, cookies, candy, ice cream and a feast fit for kings without using any animal products not a big deal really. also if you are a fan of shrimp, lobster, clams whatever it is also easy to make a really good meal.

If at any time there is a special occaision or unusual event just ask your priest. most will give you a blessing to break the fast for a meal to celebrate a special occaision.

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#6 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks lilyka, that makes sense.
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#7 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
If at any time there is a special occaision or unusual event just ask your priest. most will give you a blessing to break the fast for a meal to celebrate a special occaision.
This needs a leetle bit of clarification. Of course, if you're on the receiving end of hospitality at someone's home, you eat what's put in front of you. You don't use it as an opportunity to gorge on the foods you're fasting from otherwise! But if you're going somewhere that would give you a choice of foods - say, a restaurant for a non-Orthodox relative's birthday or anniversary - you simply don't say that you're fasting and get the closest thing to fasting food you can get - fish, for example.

But to go to your priest and say, "My birthday falls during Great Lent (or Wednesday or Friday or during one of the other fasting seasons), and I want to go out for a steak dinner"? Naw, he'd most probably look at you sideways and shake his head. If it's an event *you* are in control of - your birthday, your anniversary, etc., you have two choices: celebrate it on the day of with fasting food or wait until the next non-fasting day, and then do the non-fasting food.

And another point, since you were doing catechism with a Catholic priest. It used to be a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays/Ash Wednesday/Good Friday in Catholicism (not sure about the current rules). You won't get that kind of thinking in Orthodoxy. However, if you are able to keep the fast (meaning you have no health conditions such as pregnancy or diabetes and aren't BF) and don't, it can be a sign of something being spiritually out of whack.

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8125

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#8 of 9 Old 03-18-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was reading Saveur Magazine today and they had an article on breaking the Lenten fast. I found it online, so thought I'd post it here

http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/Easter-Sweet

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipe...-Cheese-Paskha
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#9 of 9 Old 03-18-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Yep, I'm making that for Pascha this year - I've had it before. It's VERY delish! I'm also making kulich, a sweet egg bread, baked in a can so that the dough mushrooms over the top of the can. The loaf is decorated with a bit of icing on top and some candied fruit or non-pareils.

These are the Russian Pascha treats. The Greek tradition has a sweet egg bread that is either coiled or braided, with a traditional red-dyed egg in the center. I've made that in the past, too.

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