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Get Your Festive Mood On and Celebrate Christmas in Russia

Did you know that Russia celebrates Christmas on January 7? This is mainly because the Russians follow the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar.

If you think that’s interesting, wait until you know about some of their unique Christmas traditions. There’s more Russian Christmas than meets the eye.

It would be much better if you were to experience it for yourself. Why not visit the country and explore it to your heart’s content?

Maybe you can finally get around and meet that Russian woman you’ve been talking to online. Even better, you can get to spend a romantic holiday with her.

Russian woman smiling
Christmas is the best season for you to enjoy the outdoors of Russia with your partner.

But first things first, you need to know how to celebrate Christmas the Russian way. Want to avoid carrying around a tourist pamphlet trying to figure out where and how to celebrate Christmas in Russia? Well, we have the guide just for you.

Touchdown to Russia

You’ll find Russians to be exceedingly hospitable people despite their stern appearance. They go out of their way to make sure their guests feel right at home, and they never leave them unattended.

To be invited to a Russian family home for Christmas dinner is one of the highest compliments you will ever get. Most Russians see Christmas as an exclusive family event — so imagine how important you would have to be to get invited to a Christmas dinner of all things!

In accordance with Russian customs, you’ll have to bring a gift. Russians don’t often exchange gifts for Christmas. The only times that they do bring a gift is when they are invited into someone else’s home.

You can choose to bring food in addition to the holiday feast that they already have. Just don’t buy something pricey. Russians usually try to repay a gift by giving another of the same value.

You might also notice that the Russians won’t be smiling much at you, save for your partner. To many Russians, smiles are a sign of affection. To smile at a total stranger would not only be odd, but it will also give you away as a tourist.

There is an old Russian saying “Laughter without reason is a sign of idiocy.” Unless you don’t mind garnering unwanted attention, it’s best to save your smile for when you are in your Russian girlfriend’s company.

That doesn’t mean you can’t strike up a conversation, though. If you’re the no-nonsense kind of person, you’ll love chatting up with Russians. They enjoy having substantial conversations, as opposed to small talk.

Russians also tend to be blunt in conversations and are not afraid to say things as they are. They aren’t easily offended either. They know how to handle it. Still, if the situation calls for it, they aren’t afraid to call someone out.

Fortunately enough, this doesn’t happen during Christmas gatherings. It’s one thing that’s great about celebrating Christmas in Russia — families often get in on the festive spirit and adopt a strong sense of togetherness.

Unique Christmas Traditions

It isn’t unusual for some Russians to celebrate two Christmases. They would either go with the Julian calendar, the Gregorian calendar, or both.

The actual Christmas day (January 7) is customarily celebrated with the family, save for a few family friends and partners. This makes this their second Christmas. Their first Christmas they often spend with their circle of friends or with their lovers. Compared to the family dinners, this would usually entail a huge party.

Church
LED lights decorate the city of Moscow as Christmas Day comes to a near.

A typical Christmas dinner in Russia would usually consist of kutia, pirogi, kulebyaka, rasstegays, pirozhki, vatrushka, and pastila. But before you can get to dig in and enjoy the food, you need to fast first.

Forty days before Christmas, Russians would adhere to the Yuletide tradition of fasting before Christmas Eve or Сочельник in Russian. This would mean animal products and meat are prohibited.

Not all Russians observe the fasting tradition, but they still follow the custom of starting dinner (or ending the fast) once the first star appears in the sky during Christmas Eve. The practice is based on the story of the Three Kings making their way to the child Jesus with the star of Bethlehem as a guide.

Should You Go Out Fortune Telling for Christmas?

Divination is one of the most favorite activities Russians love participating in, especially younger women. It is believed that if they were to ask the name of the first man they encounter on Christmas Eve, that would be the name of their future husband.

Back then, fortune-telling was exclusively for young unmarried women. Married men or women were not allowed to partake in them at all. Though in today’s time, fortune-telling is an event that everyone can partake in on Christmas eve. A person’s future can be predicted through tarot cards, tea leaves, or coffee grounds.

So how does fortune-telling usually go?

With coffee grounds, you pour them in a bowl, then you make a wish or ask a question. You stick your hand inside the bowl and pick up as much as you want. An odd number of grounds would mean it will come true, but not anytime soon. An even number of grounds only means that your wish is about to come true.

While this is not exactly an accurate reading, it’s still fun to do. Who knows, you might be able to predict your future marriage with your Russian girlfriend.

Making the Most of Your Holidays with a Russian woman

While you don’t have to learn all Russian Christmas traditions, it would ultimately help you win over the family of the person you love the most. This will increase your chances of getting invited to more family events in the future.

There are many different reasons for you to enjoy your Christmas in Russia — it’s just a matter of counting your blessings. You don’t need to go to the most romantic holiday destinations in the world to have a good time.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas, the most important thing is that you and your girlfriend have a great time.


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