How to Celebrate a Praznyk
It’s that time of year… and I am not just talking about summer. It is Praznyk season! For those of you who haven’t heard of a Praznyk, it is the Feast Day of a particular parish. Eastern Catholics like to make a big event of when a parish is celebrating the feast of its namesake. This year, our parish Feast Day included two divine liturgies, a barbecue, and the blessing of new stained-glass windows.
Although Roman Catholic churches also celebrate their parish’s names-day, I have found that these events are not as big as in the Byzantine Churches. Monthly parish breakfasts may be scheduled to fall on the nearest Sunday, or the parish will celebrate “Family Day” around that time. Byzantine Catholics celebrate the feast day on the actual names-day.
So How are Praznyks celebrated by Eastern Christians?
First and foremost, we celebrate Praznyks by going to the Feast day Divine Liturgy. Also, these may already be a Holy Day of Obligation depending on your country. Obligated or not, no one wants to miss liturgy on their own parishes feast! Vespers or a Moleben may also be said depending on the church.
Praznyks also generally include a communal meal. Depending on the day of the week and the community, this may be a lunch, supper, or a wine and cheese. The event often includes a program celebrating achievements in the parish, anniversaries, and honouring staff who are retiring.
Extra Things You Can do to Make your Church’s Praznyk Special
There are many ways you can celebrate your church’s Praznyk. The standard way is attending liturgy and the other festivities at your church. At home, get an icon of your parish’s Feast day. Display it somewhere prominent on the feast day. You may also want to leave it up in your icon corner for the rest of the year as a reminder to pray for your parish priest. Another way to celebrate the Praznyk is to spend the nine days leading up to and including the feast day praying a novena for your parish priest. Priests need our prayers! A Praznyk is a good time to help your priest by praying for extra graces for him.
Learning more about your parish’s saint or feast is also a great way to honour that day in your family. Find a book, article, or podcast about that saint/feast and read/listen to it as a family.
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Do you do anything special to celebrate your parish’s Praznyk? If so, let us know in the comments.