400,000 celebrate Orthodox Christmas in Latvia

January 6 marks Christmas Eve in Eastern Christian Confessions which use the Julian calendar. The difference between it and the modern Gregorian calendar is 13 days so adherents of the Orthodox Church start celebrating Christmas only today, reported LSM's Russian-language service Wednesday.

PM Laimdota Straujuma (Unity) congratulated Orthodox Christians, wishing them to be good to one another and to enjoy their communions, according to a press release by the State Chancery. 

"I wish to each of you to spend these celebration days with love for your family, relatives and friends," read the announcement.

Orthodox Christmas isn't an official holiday in Latvia even though on January 6 and 7 it's observed by about 400,000 believers. However a number of municipalities allow employees to take a day off on January 7 - a welcome initiative seeing that on January 6 many attend night services in Orthodox Churches.

Opposition parties have put forward proposals to make January 6 and 7 holidays, however the ruling coalition has never agreed to take the step.

Still, municipalities like Rīga, Daugavpils, Rēzekne and others allow their employees to take a day off on January 7.

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