The Slovenia Times

Holiday of hope, Christmas again marked by Covid restrictions


Ljubljana - Slovenians will celebrate Christmas for the second year during the pandemic against the backdrop of coronavirus restrictions, which are however somewhat milder this time around. While the Roman Catholic Church in Slovenia decided to cancel midnight masses last year, this year church-goers will only have to produce a Covid pass.

Novo Mesto Bishop Andrej Saje says that Christmas is foremost a holiday of hope and joy, despite its outward commercialisation. "It's like a child who is born and it's a kind of a hope for the family, especially if anticipated for a very long time," he told the STA, adding hope is in general at the core of Christian faith.

Christmas is also an opportunity to deepen faith, relations and good deeds. "It's an opportunity ... to meet, get to know each other, learn about the needs we have, and seek the good in one another. This strengthens our relations, making them more beautiful, which is what it seems to be missing these days, at the time of the epidemic."

Most people in Slovenia have already decorated a Christmas tree and put a set of nativity scene under it, a tradition going back to the 18th century in Slovenian lands.

While Christmas was celebrated away from the public eye under socialism, Christmas Day became a public and bank holiday as Slovenia gained independence in 1991.

Across the country, live nativity scenes have also become popular holiday events alongside Christmas markets in decorated city centres, while potica remains a typical cake that would be offered alongside Christmas dinner or to visitors.

To go to church this year, people will have to be either vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid-19 (PCT rule), they will have to wear a mask, and observe a 1.5-metre distance. The latter rule applies to all except those from the same household.

While Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate what is the second holiest day for Christians after Easter on 25 December, Orthodox Christians will celebrate it on 7 January due to the differences in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.


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