Tags: holidays, article
Lights of Moscow

After New Year’s Eve Russians celebrate Christmas. It happens that, Russia Christmas is celebrated at a smaller scale and with less enthusiasm. One of the reasons for the attitude toward this holiday is the fact that in Orthodoxy Christmas is observed on December 25 according to the Julian calendar, which is on January 7 according to the generally accepted Gregorian calendar. So, people expect most gifts and well wishes only on New Year’s Eve.

Religious people, of course, try to observe fasting days until January 7 and not to celebrate New Year’s Eve. But very few are strong enough to accomplish such a feat.

Many fairs, concerts (with a special focus on classical music) and performances for kids are timed to coincide with Christmas. Temples and monasteries in Russia celebrate overnight festive worship service on Jan 6. Temples’ interior decoration and priests’ vestments are sharply white that night. Carols are performed by the best available choir. At 12 AM large cross processions are conducted around the temple. It is quite an astonishing sight.