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Thread: Christmas in Russia

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    Christmas in Russia

    Привет всём, hey everybody!

    I have a few questions about the December holiday in Russia. Sorry if these are silly or have been answered before..

    1. Regardless of religion, most people in Russia celebrate this holiday on the 7th? Is this at all accurate? Is it just the 1/2 days or is there a longer period?

    2. Is it possible/affordable to send gifts for this holiday to people in Russia from the US? I've read that packages are often taken or never end up at their intended destination - probably hard to be sure, but does anybody know anything about that?

    3. I'm assuming that gifts and gift culture are pretty similar here and there - but, any differences I should be aware of? (Probably clear through this post, that I intend to try sending holiday gifts to Russians, hehe)

    Thanks a lot for your help and happy holidays, albeit quite early to say so =)

    (I wonder if it's proper to say, but "Веселые каникулы!")
    luck/life/kidkboom
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    It is January 7th not December 7th. It is national holiday in Russia and it is day off
    It is possible to send a package from US to Russia. ~$50 for USPS ~$100 for UPS/Fedex. I did it several times and all packages have arrived (takes about 2-3 weeks)
    Веселые каникулы! is translated as "cheerful recess", so it is not correct
    Merry Christmas - "Хорошего Рождества!" or just "С Рождеством!" (usually used)
    Happy Holidays - "Хороших праздников"
    Happy Holiday - "С праздником"

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Is it widespread to celebrate Рождество with gift-giving on 7 January?

    My understanding is that long before the atheist Bolsheviks appeared on the scene, gift-giving (and ёлочки, and Дед Мороз) in tsarist Russia was associated with the New Year, and Christmas was a rather formal and solemn religious holy-day, but not a festive holiday.

    Also, kidkboom -- каникулы is translatable as "holiday" ONLY in the sense that college Spring Break may be called a "school holiday" -- in other words, каникулы actually means a "scheduled recess/vacation period" in an academic or governmental calendar, typically lasting anywhere from a week to a couple of months. But a "holiday" in the sense of Christmas or Valentine's Day or the 4th of July is праздник.

    (And "recess" in the American elementary-school sense, when the children are allowed a free half-hour of time for play between lessons, would be перерыв, as far as I know.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Is it widespread to celebrate Рождество with gift-giving on 7 January?

    My understanding is that long before the atheist Bolsheviks appeared on the scene, gift-giving (and ёлочки, and Дед Мороз) in tsarist Russia was associated with the New Year, and Christmas was a rather formal and solemn religious holy-day, but not a festive holiday.
    New Year is still the biggest holiday in Russia and Christmas is not so big. Christmas in Russia is kinda like New Year(except for NY ) in US and New Year in Russia is like Christmas in US - gift- and congratulations- wise. Many people go to church that day (even people who go to church twice a year)

    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    (And "recess" in the American elementary-school sense, when the children are allowed a free half-hour of time for play between lessons, would be перерыв, as far as I know.)
    посыпаю голову пеплом
    I was using Lingvo translator because I didn't know exact translation, thank you

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    Doomer, the translation of каникулы as "recess" is totally correct in some contexts -- for example, if you're talking about government calendars, and sometimes also in higher education. For example, "it may turn out that the bill will not be passed before Congress starts its summer recess".

    But in the context of elementary-school education, "recess" means "a break for rest and play between lessons, usually in the middle of the day, typically 20-40 minutes".

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    To kidkboom: gifts should be delivered OK, no need to worry.
    To Throbert: каникулы is in 99% of cases used in academic (school) sense. It's a trend now in Russia to use this word for the 'break' in government work in the beginning of the year (i.e., 1-10 January that are days off), but the most traditional would be выходные (days off work) / выходной (if it's one day off). But парламентские каникулы sounds OK.

    To Doomer: i just don't believe dictionaries (incl. Lingvo) now, i always try to double-check the meaning on English-language sites, dictionaries lie sometimes (like in case of пилотка, Lingvo gives me 2 variants - field cap, forage cap, and both are incorrect, sorry for off-top)

    I would say that more and more people celebrate January 7 these days in Russia (it's a family holiday with gift-giving, etc.). But still there are some who do not celebrate this holiday at all, and this is not a small number, the reason being this was not celebrated at all in Soviet times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post

    (And "recess" in the American elementary-school sense, when the children are allowed a free half-hour of time for play between lessons, would be перерыв, as far as I know.)
    The two words are used in this sense: перерыв and перемена. The former can be used everywhere (elem.school, university, work environment), the latter is in elem. and high school context mostly.

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    Hanna
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    So 26 Dec is a normal working day in Russia?

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    So 26 Dec is a normal working day in Russia?
    Yes, it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    So 26 Dec is a normal working day in Russia?
    Why not? It's a normal working day in the US. (Well, in principle -- but in years when 25 Dec is on a Thursday, for example, then 26 Dec may be also be considered an official выходной день, in order to create a "four-day weekend".) In other words, the "Boxing Day" holiday is not a universal Christian custom.

    And don't forget about the difference between the Gregorian and Julian calendars -- for Russian Orthodox Christians, who still use the old Julian calendar for reckoning holy days, both 25 and 26 December are simply two ordinary days in the middle of the long pre-Christmas "Advent" period. (A 40-day season that they call the Рождественский пост, "Nativity Fast", and in some ways it's more similar to "Lent" than to Western "Advent".)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    So 26 Dec is a normal working day in Russia?
    25 and 26 December are definitely normal working days. Ask some people in Russia and they wouldn't know that it's Christmas in many parts of the world at this time. But there's a fashion (among younger people mostly) or a trend, whatever you call it, to celebrate 25 December Christmas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    In other words, the "Boxing Day" holiday is not a universal Christian custom.
    Just to be clear, you don't have Boxing day at all in US?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    (And "recess" in the American elementary-school sense, when the children are allowed a free half-hour of time for play between lessons, would be перерыв, as far as I know.)
    перемена
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    25 and 26 December are definitely normal working days. Ask some people in Russia and they wouldn't know that it's Christmas in many parts of the world at this time. But there's a fashion (among younger people mostly) or a trend, whatever you call it, to celebrate 25 December Christmas
    Give these young people any date in any calender and they will celebrate it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    Just to be clear, you don't have Boxing day at all in US?
    Correct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    Just to be clear, you don't have Boxing day at all in US?
    No. I would say, in fact, that the average American doesn't even know the term "Boxing Day", and that if you asked them, they would guess that it has some connection with бокс as a sport!

    But although only Christmas Day itself on 25 December is an official holiday, in some years (as I said above), either the 24th or 26th may be considered a holiday by the federal government in order to give people a long weekend. This year, for example, 25 Dec is on a Sunday, and so Monday the 26th will be a holiday, making it a three-day weekend.

    In years when the 25th is on Wednesday, it kinda sucks -- the government (and many businesses) may declare the 24th a "half day" and send workers home at lunchtime. But on the 26th, it's back to work! However, this is compensated by the fact that in other years, when the 25th falls on Tuesday or Thursday, it's customary to have a four-day weekend.

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    So 26 Dec is a normal working day in Russia?
    As well as 25 Dec.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    No. I would say, in fact, that the average American doesn't even know the term "Boxing Day", and that if you asked them, they would guess that it has some connection with бокс as a sport!
    Despite the fact that Canada has it
    US has Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) it's similar to Boxing Day but it's not a day off

    BTW does anybody know why Thanksgiving in Canada is not the same day as in US?

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    In Belarus holidays are December 25 as Catholics Christmas, January 1 as New Year, January 7 as Orthodox Christmas. Other days are working days. December 31 is shortened day. 14.00 is end of working day.

  20. #20
    Hanna
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    Sorry, I meant to ask about 25 December, of course!
    But the discussion about boxing day that resulted from my mistake was interesting. I would never have guessed that Boxing Day is not a holiday in the USA!

    Quote Originally Posted by
    [B
    "[/B]Dmitry Khomitchuk"]In Belarus holidays are December 25 as Catholics Christmas, January 1 as New Year, January 7 as Orthodox Christmas. Other days are working days. December 31 is shortened day. 14.00 is end of working day.
    Nice to hear that both Christmases are acknowledged in Belarus!

    Personally I don't like the harmonization of holidays and traditions across the world.
    For example "Halloween" is celebrated a bit in the UK, despite it being an American holiday through and through, and a totally ungodly one at that. Even in Sweden, some Halloween costumes were on sale.
    In many parts of Asia they celebrate Christmas despite the fact that very few people are Christian and they have very little idea about what Christmas represent. But that does not stop them from playing non-stop Christmas music in the shops, decorating the entire town with Christmas light shows and giving people Christmas gifts.
    I like the old holidays that we celebrate in Scandinavia, Like Midsummer, Walpurgis and St Lucia. I really hope that they won't disappear in favour of something commercialized.

    It's much more interesting when each country sticks to it's own traditions which mean something to people there.

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