Advent: The Orthodox Church
The Orthodox churches of eastern Europe developed different traditions. Since the eighth century Orthodox believers have fasted in preparation for Christmas. Orthodox believers fast by eliminating meat, fish, dairy products, wine, and olive oil from their diets for a set period of time. A common Orthodox term for Advent is "Little Lent.” In the Greek tradition, Advent is often called "Christmas Lent,” a period that lasts from November 15 until the eve of December 24 and is observed with fasting, prayer, and almsgiving (see also CHRISTMAS IN GREECE). The Orthodox period of preparation before Christmas may also be called "St. Philip’s Fast” because it begins the day after St. Philip’s Day. Armenian Orthodox believers fast for three weeks out of a seven-week Advent period, which runs from November 15 till January 6. Orthodoxy does not maintain a special liturgy for this period (see also CHRISTMAS IN ARMENIA).