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It is the concluding day of the Nativity Fast and is observed as a day of strict fasting by those devout Byzantine Christians who are physically capable of doing so.In some traditions, nothing is eaten until the first star appears in the evening sky, in commemoration of the Star of Bethlehem.Methodists celebrate the evening in different ways.Some, in the early evening, come to their church to celebrate Holy Communion with their families.
Christmas Vespers are popular in the early evening, and midnight services are also widespread in regions which are predominantly Lutheran.
Whilst it does not include any kind of Mass, the Church of Scotland has a service beginning just before midnight, in which carols are sung.
The Church of Scotland no longer holds Hogmanay services on New Year's Eve, however. On Christmas Eve, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services.
"Krippenspiele" (Nativity plays), special festive music for organ, vocal and brass choirs and candlelight services make Christmas Eve one of the highlights in the Lutheran Church calendar.
A nativity scene may be erected indoors or outdoors, and is composed of figurines depicting the infant Jesus resting in a manger, Mary, and Joseph. The Magi may also appear, and are sometimes not placed in the scene until the week following Christmas to account for their travel time to Bethlehem.