A festival that celebrates the life, sacrifices and teachings of Jesus Christ, Christmas appears on December 25 every year. Almost all every part of the world celebrate the festival on the same day. But in Russia, Christmas is not celebrated on December 25. It is celebrated on January 7. But there are also exceptions like the Catholics in Russia celebrate the eve on 25th of December.
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 28 November and going to the 6 January, so it's 40 days long.
What is Advent?
In Latin 'Advent' means 'Coming'. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas (or sometimes from the 1st December to Christmas Day!). Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.
Going back to the day when Russia was called the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much. New Year was only important eve that was celebrated among the people. It was an important time for the citizens of Soviet Unions for drinking, spending lots of money and exchange of gifts. New Year was the time when Santa Claus, called 'Ded Moroz' in Russia use to bring presents to the children.
Following the revolution in 1917, Christmas was banned as a religious holiday in 1929 and Christmas Trees were banned until 1935 when they turned into 'New Year' Trees! If people did want to celebrate Christmas, they had to do it in secret just in their families. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, people were free to celebrate Christmas again.
But still, Christmas is a small eve for Russians when compared to New Year Eve. Ded Moroz comes on New Year to give gifts to the children who are always by his Grandaughter (Snegurochka).
The official Christmas and New holidays in Russia last from December 31st to January 10th whereas in India and other countries across the globe the festive vacation begin from 3rd week of December Till January 1st or sometimes it may extend.
This is how Russians Christmas celebrations are different from celebrations in any other country across the world.
Have a Glittery and Merry Christmas!
Also Read: Places To Visit In India During Christmas!