EIP Around the World - Russia

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To mark the festive season, we spoke to our EIP colleagues who has international background or connection and asked how they celebrate the festivity in their home countries.

Christmas in Russia by Tatiana Dodenko, Legal Assistant

Q. When is your Christmas?

Russians profess Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other religions. The most widely professed faith in Russia is Orthodoxy. Orthodox Russians celebrate Christmas, but they do it later, on 7th January according to the Julian calendar that pre-dates the commonly observed Gregorian calendar. It is the New Year when it is celebrated by all Russians. New Year is the biggest holiday of the “New Year holidays” season, which starts on 1st January and lasts until 8th January.

Q. Are there any special Christmas dishes or food people eat?

There special New Year foods, which include pickled herring, caviar topped bread, homemade pickles, marinated mushrooms and Olivier salad.

Q. Are there any particular traditions?

New Year / Christmas trees are installed in December.

Before Christmas children write letters to Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) with present requests. On Christmas day some children and adults wear traditional clothes and visit from door-to-door singing Kolyadki (short traditional songs) and asking for sweets. Children often make snowmen and some young girls enjoy divinations/fortune-telling.

Ded Moroz and his granddaughter Snegurochka will place gifts under the tree on New Year's Eve. At home families gather together eating and drinking and watch special New Year TV programs and movies. People enjoy fireworks after midnight and give gifts to each other.

Q. And Music?

There are some Russian songs about New Year some English ones are known too. There are also a lot of music concerts on TV in the evening of New Year’s Eve. Very popular ones are music from 90’s. Here is a song from one of the popular Soviet era animation films “Winter in Prostokvashino”.