The festivities actually begin several days prior to Christmas Day and we were lucky enough to witness much of it.
2 days before communities/neighborhoods gather and have these huge bonfires filled with music, singing and warm rakia (Macedonian brandy) our neighborhood event happens to be almost a cross the street from our house. We opted not to go because we have been MAJORLY jet lagged and, quite frankly, just not in the mood. It was fun to see the neighborhood a buzz though, hear the music, and listen to the fireworks. Since we will likely be here for the holidays next year we agreed we would venture out and participate. Below is a pretty terrible pic that I tried to capture of the festivities.
Then early the following morning young kids come around ringing doorbells signing and looking for treats (much like our Halloween.) Luckily we were jet lagged because our bell rang at about 6:30 am! By the time we were downstairs the kids were next door at the neighbors singing ( luckily, since I had no treats to give! Ha) it was fun to listen to the kids running around.
Then on Christmas Eve families gather for a meat less meal. There is a traditional 40 day fast with no meat that is then broken on Christmas Day.
I look forward to learning more, and even actually experiencing, orthodox Christmas next year.
For now, I am going to enjoy my LAST day of vacation at home and attempting to stay awake all day so that I can get more than 3 hrs of sleep tonight before work tomorrow...