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Christmas in Russia

“Schastlivogo Rozhdestva!”

Christmas in Russia (Russian: Рождество Христово Rozhdestvo Khristovo, in the Russian Orthodox Church called Е́же по пло́ти Рождество Господа Бога и Спа́са нашего Иисуса Христа Yezhe po ploti Rozhdestvo Gospoda Boga i Spasa nashego Yisusa Khrista), commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated on 25 December in the Julian calendar used by the church, which falls on 7 January in the common Gregorian calendar.

Christmas is considered a high holiday by the Russian Orthodox Church, one of the 12 Great Feasts, and one of only four of which are preceded by a period of fasting.

On Christmas Eve, 6 January, there are several long services, including the Royal Hours and Vespers combined with the Divine Liturgy. The family will then return home for the traditional Christmas Eve (Holy Supper), which consists of 12 dishes, one to honour each of the Twelve Apostles. Devout families will then return to church for the All Night Vigil. Then again, on Christmas Morning, they return to attend the Morning Divine Liturgy of the Nativity.

Since 1992 Christmas has become a national holiday in Russia, as part of the ten-day holiday at the start of the new year.