The Orthodox understanding of the importance of the Incarnation is manifested in all the arts. The Incarnation is what we celebrate at Christmas: God became Man and entered Creation. Because of this, all of Creation has become a sacred space, and physical elements can be used in artistic ways to show our love for God.
 
From Fine Arts to Folk Arts, people have used Creation's elements to honor the Creator. 
 
In this Festival of Orthodox Christian Arts, you can see many ways that Folk Arts have emerged from this understanding of Reality:
 

  • Pysanky were an ancient pre-Christian art form that became "baptized" with Christian themes by the Ukrainian people and others. During the cold, dark winters, people would use their time to create these beautiful eggs, planning to give them to friends for Pascha (Orthodox Easter).

  • Matrushka dolls are a relatively new Russian toy-art form. They are increasingly being used to illustrate Saints and biblical themes.

  • Jewelry has always been used to show forth our faith through crosses, prayer ropes, and other physical reminders to pray.

  • Vestments for the Clergy are often quite elaborate--highlighting the ability of people to use textile arts to co-create Beauty with materials that God provides. They often include flowers and other natural images to celebrate God's beautiful Cosmos.

  • Beeswax candles appeal to our delight in fragrance, reminding us that our entire bodies are to experience God's Creation--and be reminded of His Presence. By honoring bees in this way, we proclaim God's love for all His creatures and how we are called to help all of Creation Praise God.

  • Incense, made from natural elements, likewise lifts our hearts and prayers to God. When the clergy cense the icons and the people, they are reminding us that we are all made in the Image of God...we are loved.

  • Prayer Corners/Icon Corners are a regular fixture in most Orthodox homes. Such a corner is yet another way that the faithful can be physically reminded of God's Presence and be encouraged to meet Him. Corners usually have Icons, candles, incense, embroideries, and flowers. When Orthodox enter a home and see the Icon Corner, they often venerate that space (make the sign of the Cross and bow).

 
Every aspect of our lives--both every day and the festive--is a canvas to express our love for God. Come and See!