Christmas 2016 - when and how Orthodox Christmas is celebrated in Russia

Christmas is one of the main Christian holidays, which has become an integral part of the Slavic culture. However, in the western and eastern currents of Christianity it is celebrated in different ways, although the customs and traditions of different peoples are very similar.

Why celebrate Christmas

According to the Scriptures, the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, who was destined for the Savior, during the population census, in Bethlehem. Since the city was crowded with the Jews who came to the census, and there was no place to stay in the houses, Maria, along with Joseph, settled for the night in a stable, next to the domestic cattle. At the time of the birth of the Savior, the star of Bethlehem was lit in the sky, which indicated the path to the magi who brought their gifts to the God-given child.
The Nativity of Jesus Christ is the central point of the Christian teaching. It testifies to the approaching salvation of the human race and is celebrated especially solemnly and joyfully. At its core, this is the second most important holiday after Easter. However, in Western and Eastern Christianity it is celebrated in different ways.

How to celebrate Christmas in Russia

Until 1918, Russia lived on the Julian calendar. Despite the fact that the Soviet government built the life of the country on the Gregorian calendar, the church refused to go over it. Therefore, the dates of church holidays, the terms of the posts are determined and now according to the old style. In Russia, January 7 is considered the date of the birth of Jesus Christ. The holiday is preceded by a 40-day fast. The evening of January 6 is Christmas Eve. In the houses of Orthodox believers, a table of 12 lean dishes is laid, and in the center of the table they put oat-and-brewed wheat grains with honey, nuts, raisins, diluted with dried fruit from a dried fruit. After the first star ascended, everyone present began a meal with the oke, and then tried the rest of the dishes. Since January 7, meat dishes are allowed, of which the main are: stuffed pig, goose, chicken with buckwheat porridge. Orthodox Christmas traditions prescribe that believers have fun until the Epiphany - this time was called "The Svyatki". In particular, young people gathered in villages and cities in groups. Boys and girls dressed in the back of their sheepskin coat, masks, went to their houses and sang Christmas carols. At the head of the procession was the image of a star with ribbons, which symbolized the Bethlehem star. The owners of the houses where the mummers came were obliged to listen to them, present them with pies and sweets or money. It was believed that after that the house will live in joy and prosperity.

Where to celebrate Christmas 2016

Despite common origins, Catholic Christmas differs somewhat from Orthodox. Catholics celebrate the birth of the Savior on the night of December 24 to December 25. In the evening, a table is laid, the main course being a goose or a turkey. The whole family should be there for him. In the city squares, in the memory of the events of Christmas, there are denominations where the Bogomodenets is depicted in the manger and the wise men who came to worship him. Everywhere there are performances in which gospel stories are played out. It is accepted to give gifts to each other and wish for happiness. Traditionally in Western Europe Christmas is a time of mass sales, when you can buy a lot of good things with huge discounts.
The most pleasant is to spend Christmas in 2016 in Europe. Here, tourists will find a lot of local customs and pleasant surprises, pleasing local cuisine and entertainment. And on the street you can take a picture with Santa Claus. However, the holiday is no less fun in Russia, where people's festivities are organized and merry skating on sledges and triples.

See also: Airborne Forces Day .