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Thread: Russian Holiday

  1. #1
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    Russian Holiday

    I was just wondering about the Russian Christmas. I'm not sure, but I thought it was celebrated on Janurary 7th or something. My dad's family celebrated it when he was younger, but he forgot everything.

    Could someone summarize the history and culture and customs and facts on the Russian Christmas?

    Thanks so much
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    From what my Russian friends have told me, New Year's is a much more popular holiday in Russia than Christmas(for most people). That is, only real Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas, while the majority of people exchange gifts and such on New Year's. Christmas in Russia is on January 7th because the Russian Orthodox Church wanted to stay with the old Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar(adopted after the Revolution). Remember that religion in general wasn't particularly encouraged in the Soviet Union.

    Russians have a similar story to Santa Claus. Дед Мороз and his granddaughter Снегурочка come at night and bring gifts for good children, leaving them under the holiday tree ёлка. The Russian ёлка is decorated like our Christmas trees. I'm not sure if the tree was originally used for Christmas, but now they use it(along with Дед Мороз) for celebrating New Year's.

    Perhaps someone else can tell you more about it.

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    What Pravit says is mostly true, except the Russians actually celebrate four times:

    The Gregorian Christmas.
    The Gregorian New Year's day.
    The Julian Christmas.
    The Julian New Year's Day, the "Old New Year's Day" (December 14th)

    In practical terms it means that they start celebrating in the last week of December, and continue into mid-January.
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    On the evening of January 6 we go to church for the Christmas liturgy. After church we go home or to a friend's house for a traditional dinner of roast goose.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    Thanks y'all
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pravit
    Russians have a similar story to Santa Claus. Дед Мороз and his granddaughter Снегурочка come at night and bring gifts for good children, leaving them under the holiday tree ёлка.
    In Russia, at schools and in kindergartens there are New Year parties, which are also called "ёлка". At such parties there are almost always Дед Мороз and Снегурочка. Once in my sister's kindergarten their teacher (a woman) played the role of Дед Мороз (I guess they had no money to invite an actor).
    Parties also take place at theatres, circuses, sport complexes and so on, only you have to buy a ticket to get there. Those parties usually have two parts. One part (it's usually the first part but they can be also combined in one) is interactive - Дед Мороз, Снегурочка and/or other characters from various fairy-tales communicate with kids and play games with them. Often in the beginning Дед Мороз is absent and Снегурочка together with children call him (usually it takes several times to succeed) and sometimes Снегурочка is absent because she's been kidnapped by some Баба-Яга . The second part is a performance - usually a fairy-tale where some evil forces don't want the New Year to happen and make some evil deeds and such, but of course all ends well. The most famous Russian ёлка is in Kremlin - "Кремлёвская ёлка", they also call it "Главная ёлка России" (the main ёлка of Russia), and some performances are visited by the President.

    Btw, when I was a little girl (kindergarten or earlier) I thought that Снегурочка is not Дед Мороз's granddaughter but his ...wife and was very surprised when I learned that it wasn't so. But I think I can explain that, the actresses who played Снегурочка were mostly grown-up women and the word "granddaughter" was associated with "a little girl" in my mind.
    "Happy new year, happy new year
    May we all have a vision now and then
    Of a world where every neighbour is a friend"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Friendy
    Quote Originally Posted by Pravit
    Russians have a similar story to Santa Claus. Дед Мороз and his granddaughter Снегурочка come at night and bring gifts for good children, leaving them under the holiday tree ёлка.
    In Russia, at schools and in kindergartens there are New Year parties, which are also called "ёлка". At such parties there are almost always Дед Мороз and Снегурочка. Once in my sister's kindergarten their teacher (a woman) played the role of Дед Мороз (I guess they had no money to invite an actor).
    Parties also take place at theatres, circuses, sport complexes and so on, only you have to buy a ticket to get there. Those parties usually have two parts. One part (it's usually the first part but they can be also combined in one) is interactive - Дед Мороз, Снегурочка and/or other characters from various fairy-tales communicate with kids and play games with them. Often in the beginning Дед Мороз is absent and Снегурочка together with children call him (usually it takes several times to succeed) and sometimes Снегурочка is absent because she's been kidnapped by some Баба-Яга . The second part is a performance - usually a fairy-tale where some evil forces don't want the New Year to happen and make some evil deeds and such, but of course all ends well. The most famous Russian ёлка is in Kremlin - "Кремлёвская ёлка", they also call it "Главная ёлка России" (the main ёлка of Russia), and some performances are visited by the President.

    Btw, when I was a little girl (kindergarten or earlier) I thought that Снегурочка is not Дед Мороз's granddaughter but his ...wife and was very surprised when I learned that it wasn't so. But I think I can explain that, the actresses who played Снегурочка were mostly grown-up women and the word "granddaughter" was associated with "a little girl" in my mind.
    It all looks like a Grand Archetypical Struggle of Good vs. Evil. The Forces of Light against Forces of Darkness. The Hero Protagonist, kept in captivity, against the Antagonist. The fight of Knight against Dragon and so on. Sorry if Off-Topic, but I could not help it... Nobless oblige (to think like real Propp)

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    ёлка isn't only in russia, we have it here in the U.S. as well! My Russian School has it yearly, usually in the middle of January.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bad manners
    What Pravit says is mostly true, except the

    The Julian New Year's Day, the "Old New Year's Day" (December 14th)
    Not Dec, but Jan 14
    Julian calendar lags behind from Grigorian.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-Babe
    ёлка isn't only in russia, we have it here in the U.S. as well! My Russian School has it yearly, usually in the middle of January.
    I've never heard of it as anything besides a Russian holiday. No school I've ever been to (and I've been to schools all over America) has ever even mentioned it. Although, my school in California used to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
    Yay! I broke 200 posts!

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