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St. Petersburg => Holidays and Events in St. Petersburg => Topic started by: Sennaya on January 23, 2009, 09:47:38 PM

Title: January 7: Russian Christmas Traditions
Post by: Sennaya on January 23, 2009, 09:47:38 PM
On the orthodox calendar Christmas is on January 7th
Title: Re: Jan. 7: Russian Christmas Traditions
Post by: Mariria on January 01, 2010, 09:36:18 AM

The Russian Christmas traditions are very interesting and they has changed but the meaning stays the same.

Christmas was called 'Sviatki' which was celebrated on the January 6th and is equivalent to Christmas Eve. It is known as the 'holy supper' in Russia and other Slavic countries. This was more a day of performing rituals for the next year.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia had adopted the custom of celebrating Christmas on December 25th. However, the [b]Orthodox Christmas [/b] is on [i]January 7th[/i]. It is an official national holiday.

An old Russian tradition, whose roots are in the Orthodox faith, is the Christmas Eve fast and meal. The fast lasts until after the evening worship service or until the first star appears.
The dinner that follows is very much a celebration. A twelve course dinner in honor of each of the twelve apostles - fish, beet soup or Borsch(vegetarian) and many more.
It is very symbolic with its ingredients being various grains for hope and honey and poppy seed for happiness and peace.
A house blessing is customary at this time. The priest sprinkles a bit of holy water in each room of the home, praying that the abode and all who live there have a safe and happy year.
On Christmas Day, hymns and carols are sung. People gather in churches which have been decorated with the usual Christmas trees or Yolka, flowers and colored lights.
The [b]Christmas tree[/b] (Yolka) is yet another tradition banned during the Soviet era.To keep the custom alive, people decorated New Year's tree, instead. Since ornaments were either very costly or unavailable, family trees were trimmed with homemade decorations, hard candies and fruits. Yolka comes from the word which refers to a fir tree. The custom of decorating Christmas trees was introduced to Russia by [i]Peter the Great[/i], after he visited Europe during the 1700's.
One of the most unique Russian Christmas traditions is the tradition of 'Ded Moroz' or 'Grandfather Frost' which is equivalent of Santa Clause. According to Russian legends he is always accompanied by 'Snegurochka' or 'Snowmaiden' who is often called as his granddaughter and he flyes across the sky in a reindeer drawn sleigh.

However many of the other wonderful Russian Christmas traditions came to us thru the time and we will try and remember and pass it to our new generations.
Title: Re: Jan. 7: Russian Christmas Traditions
Post by: Admiral_Kolchak on January 07, 2010, 09:05:20 PM
Grandfather Frost lets Prime Minister Putin look at the Book of Good Deeds.
Let's hope January 7 is always a day off from work to remember the spirit of Christmas.
Title: Re: Jan. 7: Russian Christmas Traditions
Post by: Admiral_Kolchak on January 07, 2010, 09:08:03 PM
Visit Russia during winter, with the added atmosphere of Christmas. Don't forget this is the Orthodox Christmas which falls after the Western Christmas! This means if you plan things well, you can have two festive highlights to your year!

The Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar; therefore, its Christmas celebration falls on January 7th, 13 days behind the West. It's a day of both solemn ritual and joyous celebration. Before this date, Orthodox Russians fast for six weeks. This Fast is completely vegetarian and requires that there must not be any parties or gatherings.
After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. It wasn't until 75 years later, in 1992, that the holiday was openly observed. Today, it's once again celebrated in grand fashion, with the faithful participating in an all-night Mass in incense-filled Cathedrals amidst the company of the painted icons of Saints