I'm only giving a few snippets from Josephus' coverage so you will check out his blog - always a good read. Note his citations of emphasis.
11/18/2008 (The Bulletin) - In a few short days most Americans will be sitting down to a sumptuous dinner. In most cases that includes turkey, dressing, special potatoes, cranberry sauce and so on. However, there is a minority of Orthodox and Greek Catholic Christians whose food these days consists of no meat, no eggs no dairy products. Dining this past Sunday with Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Cyril Bustros at Holy Transfiguration Church in McLean, Va., we enjoyed some salmon on rice with special potatoes, kibbe, with raw fruits and vegetables. On a week day we would only be permitted shellfish.
Why the fast now? Christmas, when God became man, is one of the two most important feasts of the Church. Christmas is the only feast which originated in the West and was adopted in the East. All of the other feasts originated in the East and was adopted by the West.