Christmas in Russia : Rozhdestvo in Russia

Russia also officially known as the Russian Federation is a country in northern Eurasia. Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait.

The Capital and largest city of this country is Moscow.

Christmas in Russia

Christmas Celebrations in Russia : 

Christmas is mainly a religious event in Russia and is celebrated as a national holiday on January 7. In fact there is 10 days holiday for this religious festival starting from the New Year Day. The Russian word for Christmas Eve ‘sochelnik’, comes from the word ‘sochivo’. Christmas tree and related celebrations were gradually eradicated after the October Revolution. These include the decoration of a tree, or “елка” (spruce, or sometimes pine), festive decorations and family gatherings, the visit by gift-giving “Dyed Moroz” (“Grandfather Frost”) and his granddaughter, “Snegurochka” (“The Snowmaiden”).

Christmas in Russia

Babushka is a traditional Christmas figure who distributes presents to children. Her name means grandmother and the legend is told that she declined to go with the wise men to see Jesus because of the cold weather. However, she regretted not going and set off to try and catch up, filling her basket with presents. She never found Jesus, and that is why she visits each house, leaving toys for good children. The role of Father Christmas was played by Dedushka Moroz or Grandfather Christmas. Babushka is a traditional Christmas figure who distributes presents to children. The word ”Babushka” is translated to English as a grand-mother. A traditional Christmas figure is Snegurochka. She is a grand-daughter of Ded Moroz

Traditional Russians Christmas time is the most religious time for the country. People religiously pray and odserve fast i.e; do not eat any thing for many day sometimes for 39 days until January 6th Christmas Eve, when the first evening star in appears in the sky. On Christmas Eve there are several long services, including the Royal Hours and Vespers combined with the Divine Liturgy. After coming back from services the traditional Christmas Eve “Holy Supper” begins.

This includes 12 dishes, one to honor each of the Twelve Apostles. The dishes are fish, beet soup or Borsch or vegan potluck (solyanka) cabbage stuffed with millet, cooked dried fruit, ‘sochivo’ or ‘kutia’ a porridge . Sauerkraut is main dish in the Christmas Eve meal which is served with cranberries, cumin, shredded carrot and onion rings. The meal ends with ‘Vzvar’ a sweet drink made from dried fruit and honey boiled in water. Some Orthodox Christian Russian also don’t eat any meat or fish during the Christmas Eve meal/feast.

Vzvar is traditionally at the birth of a child, so at Christmas it symbolizes the birth of the baby Jesus. The New Year celebrations are still very important to Russians (sometimes more than Christmas). This is when ‘Father Frost’ or ‘Ded Moroz’ brings presents to children. He is always accompanied by his Grandaughter. One of the most famous things about Christmas in Russia, to people in western Europe and the USA, is the story of Babushka. Babushka means Grand Mother in Russian. It tells the story of an old women who met the Wise men on their way to see Jesus.

Devout families will then return to church for the All Night Vigil. Then again, on Christmas Morning, for the Divine Liturgy of the Nativity. Hymns and carols are sung. People gather in churches which have been decorated with the usual Christmas trees or Yelka, flowers and colored lights. Christmas dinner includes a variety of different meats – goose and suckling pig are favorites.

Other major cities in Russia include – Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Omsk, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Ufa, Volgograd, etc.

How to Say Merry Christmas in Russian ?

The official way to say “Merry Christmas” in Russian is “S rozhdyestvom Hristovym!” – “С Рождеством”, which means “Congratulations on the birth of Christ!”.

You get to say “Merry Christmas” in Russian two times! There is also a much easier way to say “Merry Christmas” in Russian. You can use the universal “S prazdnikom!” – “С праздником”, which is translated as “Happy holiday!”

And of course, the most popular way to say it is “Schastlivogo Rozhdestva!” – “Счастливого Рождества”, which is Russian for “Merry Christmas”.

Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!