Christmas in Russia

Christmas in Russia


Christmas in Russia falls on January 7 as the Russian Orthodox Church observes their religious events using the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind from the Gregorian calendar. This explains why Russian people celebrate Christmas and New Year twice in a year. Generally, as the rest of the world celebrates Christmas on December 25, the Russians enjoy the holiday season as well however, they adhere to their religious tradition of celebrating their Christmas on the 7th of January and holds a more significant celebration of New Year every January 14th.

Nativity Fast

Tables are filled with lavish foods when celebrating Christmas on December 25 for most parts of the world. Interestingly, Russian people perform the Nativity fasting which lasts for forty days until the first star appears on Christmas Eve. They cling to the belief that restraining from the worldly desires of food helps them tempered the desires of the human body, and eventually help them attain spiritual needs and gratification. It reflects a Christ-like life living in simplicity. When fasting is over, the feast begins the day after the eve of Christmas. Russians break it by eating a well-cooked grain. 
The Christmas in Russia Then

Historically, Russia, formerly known as the Soviet Union, forbade the celebration of Christmas. It was seen as a religious celebration. Russia then was practicing Slavic paganism, a form of religion, which explains the strong prohibition of any form of this celebration. For Russians who wanted to observe Christmas, had to do it discreetly with their family, and quietly commemorates the religious event. Despite the circumstance, the close-knitted family tradition then reflects significantly how we celebrate today’s Christmas. 

Legendary tales Associated with Christmas in Russia

No one is unfamiliar with the legend behind the Father of Christmas, Santa Claus. Ded Moroz, is the Russian counterpart of Santa Claus, who personally presents gifts to well-behaved children on the eve of New Year. Contrary to Santa Claus’s physique, Ded Moroz is a thin tall white-bearded man clothed in a blue-colored fur coat with a semi-round fur hat, wearing Valenki boots. He is known for riding on a vehicle called troika, run by three horses and accompanied by his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden. The tale of Ded Moroz and Snow Maiden is a popular Christmas legend in Russia.

Traditional Russian Christmas food

The well-known biblical narration of 12 disciplines of Christ is symbolically represented in Russian Christmas. To commemorate this, Russians prepare 12 dishes to give honor to the Apostles. The Holy Supper, or Sochevnik, is a meatless banquet on Christmas Eve in Russia. Some of the sumptuous feasts include Kutya, a Russian Wheat porridge, which is eaten on a shared bowl to symbolize unity. A traditional Kulebyaka, a Russian Salmon turnover pie, which is made with a delicious combination of butter, buckwheat, mushroom, and eggs neatly wrapped and made as a crisp pastry. A Russian Christmas cookie with curd cheese, known as Kolyadki, is made from rye flour stuffed with curd cheese. This cookie was given to local people dressed as manger animals who sing from door to door.

Christmas Gift

When traveling to Russia, tourists should never leave the country empty-handed. Russia is home to delightful crafts made with great artistry. The Russian Nesting Dolls are hand-painted colorful set, perfect for collections and for Christmas gifts. To match the Christmas mood, artists crafted the set well with the holiday vibe, some painted them with Ded Moroz or with Snow Maiden theme. Russian vodka should be listed as another inexpensive present for your loved ones at Christmas. There’s no inconvenience in purchasing it as this is present in grocery stores and supermarkets. Another practical Christmas gift for Winter season is Valenki, a distinctly Russian woolen boots made suitably in time for the cold season, making your loved ones warm and comfortable as they happily frolic on the snow. Christmas in Russia is but not the only reason to visit the traditionally culture-rich country. There are several places to explore, so many things to experience. Don’t let the year pass without considering traveling to Russia.