Christmas peculiarities in Russia

For the last 100 years, Russia has been a nation in constant political and ideological change, and that affected all its culture, specially celebrations, and that involves, between others, Christmas.
As in some other Eastern Orthodox countries, and due to the 13-day difference between the newer Gregorian, and older Julian Calendars, Christmas is celebrated on January 7. Unlike its Western counterparts, Christmas is mainly a religious event in Russia. On Christmas Eve (6 January), there are several long services, including the Royal Hours and Vespers combined with the Divine Liturgy. The family will then return home for the traditional Christmas Eve “Holy Supper”, which consists of 12 dishes, one to honor each of the Twelve Apostles. Devout families will then return to church for the All Night Vigil. Then again, on Christmas Morning, for the Divine Liturgy of the Nativity. Since 1992 Christmas has become anational holiday in Russia, as part of the ten-day holiday at the start of every new year.
During the Soviet period, religious celebrations were discouraged by the officially atheist state. Christmas tree and related celebrations were gradually eradicated after the October Revolution. In 1935, in a surprising turn of state politics, the Christmas tradition was adopted as part of the secular New Year celebration. These include the decoration of a tree, festive decorations and family gatherings, the visit by gift-giving “Ded Moroz” (“Grandfather Frost”) and his granddaughter, “Snegurochka” (“The Snowmaiden”).

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