Merry Christmas everyone!! A time of celebration and merriment, Christmas Holiday marks the birth of Jesus Christ and is generally regarded as a time for new beginnings. Yet not all Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25 – in Russia, Christmas is actually celebrated on January 7th.
During the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas celebrations were pretty much banned as a religious practice. The government of the day installed New Year as the important winter holiday and encouraged the masses to celebrate the beginning of a new year with the merriment and traditions once reserved for Christmas. A pine Holiday tree replaced the ubiquitous Christmas tree as the symbol of the New Year. Children received presents under the tree from Father Frost (Ded Moroz) and adults popped champagne to welcome in prosperity and success in the new year.
Some families quietly observed Christmas with traditional observances on January 7th even during Soviet times. Russian Orthodox Church has always used the old “Julian” calendar for religious celebrations, while most of the world adopted the Gregorian calendar as a means to keeping track of time and holidays.
In modern Russia, religious observances are no longer prohibited and there are a number of Catholics who do celebrate Christmas on December 25th. However for many, the Holiday holds more of a symbolic value. One might say that it has been adopted as a prelude to the winter holiday season which starts on December 31st and lasts through January 10th – accounting for New Year and Christmas, and a few days to recover from both.
Whatever you’re celebrating today, we hope you enjoy the time with your loved ones – as that is truly the reason for celebration!
Happy Holidays … from our family to yours!!