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Observing Advent & the Nativity Fast in the Orthodox Church

Observing Advent & the Nativity Fast in the Orthodox Church

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The Nativity—or St. Philip’s—Fast begins on November 15 NS/28 OS every year. There are so many beautiful traditions in the Church and activities we can add to make the time edifying for our families. The feast days of some beloved saints are celebrated during the fast, which adds wonderful opportunities to make it extra special. This is also a great time to reach out to others who may not have loved ones around with whom to celebrate. Below are some ideas to add richness to your Nativity season, and our curated Pinterest boards also include books, articles, activities, and images on these topics.

Traditions & Saints

St. Nicholas of Myra (December 6/19)

Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (November 21/December 4)


St. Lucia (December 13/26)

St. Herman of Alaska (December 13/26)

Other Saints




Family Movies



Check out our Fasting Resources page to help plan your meals for the Nativity Fast! If you find fasting difficult with a family, read “Living Our Faith: ‘It's Too Hard for My Kids’” from Illumination Learning for encouragement.

It is a custom in the Slavic churches to break the strict fast on Christmas Eve with a fasting Holy Supper in preparation for Nativity.

Click here for Nativity & the Twelve Days of Christmas resources.

Pin for Later

pine bough sitting on bed with book and mug, titled "Orthodox Resources for Advent & the Nativity Fast"

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