Happy New Year a month before the secular world recognizes the new year!
A blessed season of Advent to all.
Orthodox Christians practice the Nativity Fast which extends from November 15th through December 24th. The fast is quite strict, no meat, fish with a backbone, dairy, eggs, oil or wine as a general matter, though there are easings of the Fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays (allowed wine and oil) and fish wine and oil are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Truth be told, this fast is honored more in the breach than in the keeping, at least the food part. But this period is still seen by Orthodox Christians as intensely penitential. We are continually to pray “O LORD, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips.” and thus “fast” from anger, greed, etc. It is a time of year when almsgiving is particularly encouraged. All in all, it is antithetical to the secular spectacle we started seeing around us yesterday.
In the Pennsylvania Dutch vernacular the greeting is Heilige Ny Jaar ("Holy New Year")--especially fitting for the First Sunday of Advent.