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Nushagak villages celebrate Orthodox Christmas

Orthodox 'Slavi' is a time of faith, family, food - and gilded stars trailed by song. 

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Credit Hannah Colton/KDLG
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Thousands of Alaskans joined believers around the world this week in celebrating Russian Orthodox Christmas.

The ‘Slavi’ celebration follows the old Julian calendar, with Christmas Day on January 7. Festivities last several days as church groups visit relatives and friends, singing traditional carols and enjoying plates of food at each stop.

At the center of many celebrations is a large, tinsel-covered star, which represents the journey toward the Christ-child in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Believers from Portage Creek, Ekuk, Aleknagik, and Dillingham gathered Thursday at St. Seraphim of Sarov Church to begin the starring. 

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Credit Hannah Colton/KDLG
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Church members sang carols in Slavonic (Old Russian), Yup'ik, and English, often from memory.