On January 7, 2013 Orthodox Christians of Kazakhstan will celebrate Nativity of Christ (Orthodox Christmas). As per item 4, Article 96, of RoK Labour Code, Orthodox Christmas, as well as Muslim Kurban-ait (the End of Ramadan) is not considred a national holiday, but a non-working day. Therefore, in 2013 the Kazakhstan residents will have three days off: Jan 5, 6 and 7 for the Orthodox Christmas.
How do Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas?
Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate the Nativity of Christ with a 40-day period of abstinence and fasting (called the 'Nativity Fast' or 'Christmas Lent'), marked by an increase in prayer, meditation, and alms-giving. In addition, Eastern Orthodox Christians, depending on their ethnic background, will celebrate the two Sundays before Christmas with customs particular to their ancestry. The culmination of the 40 day Fast is, of course, the Feast of the Nativity itself, highlighted by the special services of the Royal Hours, the Festal Vigil on the eve of the Feast, and the celebration of the Eucharist at the Festal Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day (technically referred to as "The Feast of the Nativity in the flesh of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"). A common custom is the singing of Christmas Hymns or carols to the shut-ins or the sick in the parish during the 12 days after Christmas - which culminates int he "Feast of Light" - Theophany of the Lord - the day the Holy Trinity is revealed to the world. As is customary , these holidays are marked with specially baked delicacies and foods! The greeting that is used by all Eastern Orthodox Christians during the twelve days of Christmas is "Christ is Born" And the response is, "Indeed He is Born! or Glorify Him!"