In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much. New Year was the important time. With the fall of Communism, Christmas is openly celebrated – either on December 25th, or more often, on January 7th. The date is different because the Russian Orthodox church uses the old ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days. The Orthodox Church also celebrates Advent. But it has fixed dates, starting on 28th November and going to the 6th January, so it’s 40 days long.
The official Christmas and New holidays in Russia lasts from 31st of December to the 10th of January. The Russian Christmas greeting is ‘S Rozhdestvom!’.
Some people fast (don’t eat anything) on Christmas Eve, until the first star has appeared in the sky. People then eat ‘sochivo’ (a dish made from wheat or rice with honey and fruit). The Russian word for Christmas Eve ‘sochelnik’, comes from the word ‘sochivo’. People then go to the midnight services.
Special Christmas food includes cakes, pies and ‘meat dumplings’. Read More