Get to Know: Russian Orthodox Christmas

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Get to Know: Russian Orthodox Christmas

im3147928_2After New Years most of us in the states are feeling the “Holiday Hangover”. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve occurring within weeks of each other, January usually means nervously awaiting credit card bills while anxiously awaiting the Super Bowl (at least in my house). So what’s the next holiday on our list? If you said Valentines day you are technically correct … unless of course you have a Russian sweetheart who will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow January 7th.  While the meaning of Christmas remains the same between the two countries the methods in which they are celebrated are quite different.

New Years and THEN Christmas?

Wait a second, didn’t I just write a New Years blog last week? Very astute observation my friend and you are correct, Russian New Years does in fact occur before Orthodox Christmas. When the Soviet Union fell in 1992  January 7th became an official national holiday as part of the ten day holiday to start the new year. The reason why the date is different from our Christmas (December 25th for anyone who is unfamiliar) is because the Russian Orthodox use the older Julian calendar.

How is Christmas Celebrated?

As faithful readers of the blog you are aware that New Years is the time to exchange gifts, feast with family and friends and to anticipate the arrival of Grandfather Frost and his beautiful granddaughter. Christmas is celebrated in a number of ways but you can rest assured that your lady will enjoy a feast at some point. Some people fast on Christmas Eve, until the first star has appeared in the sky and some others do not eat any meat or fish at all during the Christmas Eve feast instead preparing vegetarian options. People then eat ‘sochivo’ or ‘kutia’ a porridge made from wheat or rice served with honey, poppy seeds, fruit, chopped walnuts or sometimes even fruit jellies (Pro Tip: the Russian word for Christmas Eve ‘sochelnik’, comes from the word ‘sochivo’). This meal is sometimes eaten from a common bowl to symbolize unity and togetherness. Prayer may follow the meal followed by midnight church services with the family.

Show Her You Care

It is refreshing to witness a Christmas that isn’t lost in the mass commercialism that runs rampant this time of year. Your beauty is undoubtedly looking forward to spending Christmas with her family and hearing from friends and loved ones (you). Send her a message (or live chat with her) and wish her a Merry Christmas, ask her what she’s having for dinner and wish her good luck throughout the year. The only presents she wants are the gifts of love and companionship.

By The Way: In Russian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘s rah-zh-dee-st-VOHM’ (C рождеством!) or ‘s-schah-st-lee-vah-vah rah-zh dee-st-vah’ (Счастливого рождества!)

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