Russian Holidays

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Russian Holidays

Our holiday traditions play an integral part in defining who we are as people, in that, we all enjoy celebrating holidays, whether it¡¯s Christmas, the New Year, or Easter. Russians feel the same way, although their holidays and traditions differ a little from American ones.

In chronological order, the first holiday is celebrated on January 1st and 2nd and just happens to be the most popular and most notable holiday- The New Year. As in the United States, Russians celebrate the New Year starting at midnight on December 31st. They drink champagne and listen to the Kremlin Chimes. The Spasskaya tower of Kremlin is Moscow¡¯s main clock, and signals the beginning of the New Year, at 12 o¡¯clock.

Most people decorate a New Year¡¯s tree, called a §×§Ý§Ü§Ñ, which is a fir tree. Grandfather Frost, §¥§Ö§Õ Mopo§Ù, is like Saint Nicolas or Santa, and Russian children wait for him because he brings their presents. Like our Santa, he has a long white beard, a red fur coat, felt boots, and special mittens. His sled isn¡¯t pulled by deer though, but by three special horses. Grandfather Frost lives in Velikii Ustug, and his granddaughter, the snow maiden, comes with him to give out the gifts (kind of like an elf). She is dressed in a light-blue fur coat and has white boots. There is also Baba Yaga and the Forest man, who try to steal the bag that has the presents. This is acted out in a play that most families present to the children when they are younger. The New Year is a family holiday, where most get together with friends and family.

Unfortunately, after the revolution in 1917, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. Therefore, celebrating New Year became a "replacement", thus why it is so important.

In 1992, Christmas was finally allowed to be observed again. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th, because of the old Julian calendar. Since most Christian Russians belong...
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