Christmas – one of the main orthodox holidays with which is connected a lot of traditions. Some of them are Christian, others are associated with pagan rites.
Christmas is celebrated in Russia, according to the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, on January 7, it is an official public holiday. However in the 20th century everything was differently: in the Soviet Union religious holidays were under a ban, and a part of attributes of Christmas (fir-tree, Father Frost with gifts) became elements of celebration of New year, a secular holiday. New year still remains the main holiday of Russians.
Preparations for Christmas begin till January 7, maintaining a 40-day fasting, on religious custom. Night before Christmas calles “Sochelnik” (Сочельник), from the word “sochivo” (сочиво) – traditional Russian dish with wheat, sometimes the rice or lentil mixed with seed juice and honey.
By tradition, it’s impossible to eat until the first star which symbolizes the star which has indicated to shepherds the birthplace of Christ. After appearing of the first star, all sit down to a table on which there have to be 12 dishes, on number of apostles.
Till the 20th century was widespread carol-singing. The youth which is dressed up in suits and masks went on houses, glorified owners and collected entertainments. At this time sang traditional national songs – Christmas carols (колядки).
Traditions of celebration and superstition of the Russian Christmas are perfectly described in the story by N.V. Gogol “Night before Christmas”.
Join the celebration of the main holidays of Russia and know about our most interesting traditions on the course «Russian Winter 2018»!