Tuesday, 30 December 2008
I promised to tell you about Russion traditions of celebrating seasonal holidays. To start with, a little bit of history.
Before revolution of 1917 Russians celebrated Christmas, like the rest of Christians, on December 25th. After revolution any religion-related functions were banned;but people longed for holidays, and in mid-1930s the tradition of decorating fir-tree was re-introduced to Soviet people but now it applied to New Year celebration. Since then New Year tree is a regular guest in Russian houses.
Another required attribute of that holiday is (rather are) Grandy the Frost and his granddaughter Snow Maiden (in Russian, Ded Moroz and Snegurochka). Those persons come to children on a New Year Eve and gift them with numerous presents. There is also a tradition to leave boots by the decorated fir-tree for the night so that in the morning one could find gifts in one's boot.
New Year is extremely popular is Russia. Most cultural organizations prepare festive shows for children, friends and families meet together and exchange gifts.
As for Christmas, after switching to Grigorian style this holiday was shifted to January, 7th. It was nearly forgotten during 70 years of Soviet Union and, though restored lately, is neglected by many even now. Some people do celebrate Christams, too, aome of them attend public worships and give presents to each other, but still it's a kind of secondary holiday of the festive season.