How is Christmas celebrated in Russia?

Christmas is one of the main church dates, and Christians pay special attention to the celebration. How do you celebrate this holiday in Russia? Let's find out!

The origin of the holiday

The story of the birth of Jesus Christ is in the Gospel, and it tells of the fact that in the era of the reign of Herod, a nationwide census of the Jews was conducted. The descendants of King David and Mary were to arrive in Bethlehem, but they did not find a place, because of what they were forced to stop in a cave in which the shepherds and their cattle were hiding from the weather. And it was here that Mary, who was called the Most Holy Virgin, was born the immaculately conceived son of Christ, whose father was God himself.

Shepherds came to the cave to worship the Son of God. At the same time, a star appeared in the sky, which told about the birth of Christ to the Magi (sages), who presented gifts to the newborn. Eight days later, the baby received the name Jesus, given to him by the Lord himself and transmitted by angels.

History of celebration in Russia

In Russia, Christmas is considered not only a Christian, but also a public holiday, the date of which was approved by the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Russians celebrate the birth of Christ on January 7 (according to the old style, which Catholics adhere to, this is December 25).

In Russia, Christmas was recognized as an official holiday after the baptism of Prince Vladimir, which occurred in the late 10th century. But the Christian community in Kiev had before, so the history of the date could be more ancient. At about the end of the 17th century, a Polish nativity scene appeared in Russia - the so-called drama box, which recreated scenes from the Gospel associated with the birth of Jesus. Tradition was maintained until the October Revolution.

In the 1920s, all religious holidays were actively eradicated by the authorities, who planned to develop an atheistic state, in which there would not be a single faith. But still Orthodox Christians continued to celebrate Christmas, although in the 29th year of the 20th century the law on banning celebrations came into force. A little later, Christmas festivities were timed to the New Year.Officially, the holiday was re-established only in the early 90s of the last century.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is called Christmas Eve, and this name comes from a dish called “Sochivo”, which was made from soaked wheat grains and served as the main treat on the night before the holiday. Before Christmas, an All-Night Vigil is held in Orthodox churches and churches, during which passages from the Gospel and prophecies about the birth of Jesus are read. Then comes the liturgy, after which the celebration begins.

People who have decided to partake in the liturgy should fast in front of her and refrain from any food for six hours before the service begins. In addition, it is customary to refuse to eat on Christmas Eve before the appearance of the first star, which marks the birth of Jesus. Previously, at this time, the family sat down at the tables and began the celebration.

How to celebrate Christmas?

How is Christmas celebrated in Russia? On this bright holiday, it is customary to glorify Jesus, to rejoice in his miraculous appearance into the world, which gave all people hope for salvation and a bright future.It is best to celebrate Christmas with friends and relatives, you can also visit the sick or weak, honor the elderly, showing mercy to his neighbor. You can arrange a family dinner, prepare gifts, and they can carry a special spiritual meaning.

Interesting fact: it has long been accepted to prepare for Christmas in advance. People cleaned the houses, prepared clean or new clothes, cleaned spiritually and showed kindness and mercy to those around them.


In Russia, there were traditions according to which Orthodox Christians staged caroling. The mummers (people dressed in bright costumes) went to their homes and brought kutya, asking her to taste. But many avoided neighbors without treats, sang songs and told poems dedicated to Jesus, for which they received delicacies. Such "rounds" in some regions are arranged now, but children participate in them, and sweets are often replaced with money. In addition, in the villages people organized general festivities, conducted fun games and simply rejoiced in a bright holiday.

Festive table

At the festive Christmas table in Russia there were a variety of dishes, and complex and unusual.It was customary to serve meat and poultry dishes, pies with various fillings, sour or otherwise prepared cabbage, various pastries, and casseroles. On the table were vegetables, wet berries and fruits. Of the drinks, preference was given to uzvara and kissel.

If you do not know what to cook for Christmas, then feel free to use any holiday recipes. You can bake a goose or duck with apples, stuff the chicken with grits or vegetables, make a stew. All sorts of salads are welcome. It is worth paying attention to the desserts, which can be prepared from dairy and dairy products, berries, dried fruits, fruits.

Decor and attributes

Mandatory attribute of the holiday is a decorated Christmas tree, which must certainly remain with the New Year (some Russians remove it much later). You can decorate it before Christmas with bells, figures of angels, decorative candles.

To decorate the house, you can use a traditional Christmas wreath made of fir or pine branches fastened together and tied with a ribbon. Decorate it with Christmas-tree toys and various thematic figures.You can also arrange candles in beautiful candlesticks.

Tip: Try your own hands to make a Christmas nativity scene. A box in which you can place figures of the Virgin Mary, Joseph, the Magi, sheep, angels and other Christmas-related characters is suitable for this. It is possible to make a den in the form of a canopy, filling it with hay or stones imitating a cave.

Christmas time

Listing features of the celebration of Christmas in Russia, it is worth mentioning Christmas time. They began at Christmas and lasted until Baptism. This period was considered special in Russia: people believed that real miracles were happening at that time. At Christmas time, it was customary to guess: young girls gathered together and began to find out their fate using rites and signs. Christmas days have pagan echoes, and some churchmen reject divination and consider them a sin. But they are more entertaining than magical.

If you decide to try fate in the Christmas eve, then there are a great many different divinations: on wax candles, coffee grounds, various cereals, books, ashes, water, and so on. As a rule, the essence is reduced to the consideration of figures formed in a chaotic manner during fortunetelling activities.

Start preparing for Christmas as soon as possible to celebrate this bright holiday with dignity and in the best traditions.

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