Christmas is full of traditions and every country, city and home has their own. Year after year you have the same traditions: buy a big Christmas tree, decorate it with tinsel, have family meals, sing Christmas songs, etc. Fancy enjoying a different kind of Christmas this year? Next stop: Christmas in Russia!
- Christmas Calendar
Make sure you don't arrive there too early! Russians celebrate Christmas a bit later than us: on 7 January. This is because of the Orthodox Church calendar.
- Ded Moroz, I've been very good this year!
Russian children who have been good receive presents from Ded Moroz, which means "Grandfather Frost". He doesn't make a grand entrance like Santa Claus down the chimney – he arrives on a sleigh pulled by three white horses and simply knocks on your door. Ded Moroz comes with his granddaughter, Snegurochka, which means "Snow Maiden" or "Snowy".
You won't be singing any Christmas carols this year. In Russia people sing koliadki, which are satirical Slavic songs. In Moscow just before Christmas you will find people wearing traditional costumes and singing koliadki.
- What a feast!
People eat salad, caviar, fruit, cakes, etc. But the main food is a cereal dish called kutya. It is made with cherries, to symbolise hope and immortality, and poppy seeds and honey, which according to tradition bring happiness and success. People eat kutya from the same dish to symbolise unity.
- Put your ice skates on!
Ice rinks pop up in squares and parks at Christmas. In Gorky Park in Moscow a huge ice rink is installed. It is 18,000 square metres so you'll have plenty of room to show off your skills!