Christmas in Russia

January 7


Christmas in Russia is one of the most important and revered religious holidays. Russians celebrate it on January 7 (according to the old Julian calendar). It seems that this bright holiday as it picks up the baton of the New Year revels and feasts. From that moment on the series of Orthodox holidays, each of which has its own unique distinctive traditions commences.

That is why the guests of the country particularly like to visit Russia at this time of year when there opens a remarkable opportunity to plunge into the exotic ancient Russian rituals, witness the beauty of national costumes, to feel the atmosphere of Church sacraments. Wherever you go in these days of Christmas: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Astrakhan, Novosibirsk, or even a remote village - everywhere you will experience the aura of the holiday. First of all you have to visit a temple. On the night of 6 / 7 January believers gather in churches, where a solemn procession takes place and Christmas service is held. In Moscow the service is held in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. This is and incredible and spectacular spectacle: hundreds of priests, dressed in festive gold-embroidered outfits make the procession around the church carrying lighted candles, flags and banners. In the capital the Christmas festivities begin straight from morning. Traditionally, they are centered on Vasilevsky Spusk and Tverskoy Boulevard. Morning and afternoon are for the youngest viewers. For them the holiday is opened with a theatrical Christmas Tale. All along the boulevard stretch various stages where street musicians play, circuses present their acts. In the evening there starts the Christmas music ball with chiming of the bells, performances of folklore ensembles singing traditional Russian songs, ditties and old Russian entertainments.

Muscovites love to take a walk around the museum-reserve "Kolomna", where they visit holiday fairs with celebrations, trick-or-treating (with old Russian the Christmas singing) and dances. The Christmas Fair beckons everyone with bright-colored Russian souvenirs: matroshka dolls, birch bark baskets, popular prints. And just like in the old times it lures guests with hot pies, blini, kvass and mead. With the advent of Christmas there was the time of the most mysterious period – the Christmastide with fortune telling. This tradition continues to this day: it is considered that on a Christmas Eve it was the most effective. However, you can sense all the charm of Christmas parties in our days too: the ancient rituals are revived both in villages and big cities. Visiting traditional celebrations is very popular among tourists.

Orthodox Christmas Unlike Catholics and Protestants, Orthodox adherents celebrate “Russian Christmas” on January 7th to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ from the Virgin Mary.