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The Christian holiday of Christmas is celebrated with reverence both in families of the Orthodox and Catholic faiths. The origins go back more than two millennia, to distant centuries, when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave the world her son, Jesus Christ. Catholics celebrate the event in December, while Orthodox do it on the night of January 6-7. But Russia (in the majority) is an Orthodox country, so Russian people are interested in the question, what do Orthodox families do for Christmas? Baptized Russia has always celebrated this holiday cheerfully. She even decorated the Christmas tree, until the revolutionary events that temporarily deprived the country of holy holidays. To the great joy of the Russian people, a little later, they began to dress her up again.

Meaning of the holiday

What do they do for Christmas? From January 6 to 7, all churches in Russia hold a night service dedicated to the birth of Jesus Christ. In the old days, people did not sit down at the tables with food until the first star appeared in the sky. At present, we see this tradition only in the fact that many Russian families sit down at the table on the 7th, after a big service. On the night before Christmas, you can make a wish that will certainly come true.

Christian holidayThe birth of the Savior coincided with pagan Christmas time, which is why it is always associated with carols and girlish fortune-telling. Christmas is the beginning of 12 holy days, of which every day was lived provocatively and beautifully. Christmas time ended with Epiphany (January 18).

Ancient traditions and customs of Christmas

Information about what exactly the inhabitants of Russia did at Christmas, and what could not be done, has come down to the present. On the first Christmas days, people laid tables, treated, everyone had to be surrounded by care and love.

At night, during the service, you had to give thanks for what you have, pray for what you lacked and be sure to remember the departed people. In Russia, it was believed that they pray side by side on this night, and the deceased priest leads the service for them. In the first days of Christmas time, it was imperative to pay tribute to those who needed and deserved it:

  • The first day was reserved for visiting parents, as well as close and distant relatives within reach. Young people always stayed with their parents for a holiday after the service.
  • On the second day, people visited the infirm, old and sick, brought them treats, kutya.
  • The third day was dedicated to the orphans, they were treated, given gifts, played.

They didn't even forget about those who fell out of polite society, but those were later days.

After following the traditions, it was allowed to start festivities and fun. In Russia there was a belief:

“As you spend the holy days, so will your year pass.”

That's why peoplewe tried to spend our time as joyfully as possible: we rode sleighs, troikas. Fun games were arranged on the main square, they sang songs, danced round dances and invented various games and fun for themselves. People of the older generation went to visit each other, congratulated, gave small gifts, mostly edible.

What's not to do at Christmas?

Traditionally, some things were forbidden on January 7th. It was impossible:

  • swearing, swearing, wishing harm to someone (even as a joke);
  • hunt, slaughter pets;
  • clean the house, wash floors, fix and do household chores (the house should be clean by now);
  • swim (this must be done in advance);
  • comb your hair, braid your hair;
  • guess and tell fortunes (more on that below);
  • do lovemaking.

Divination and conspiracies as part of history

What else did you do for Christmas and holy days? The answer is simple - they usually guessed at Christmas.

These days the church categorically forbade guessing, considering this "action" a great sin. But holiness and the divine principle did not eradicate the pagan spirit, customs and rituals from the Russian people.

Young girls gathered and guessed at the suitors, fortune-telling was strictly forbidden for married people. The girls tried to find out the names of the betrothed, the number of children, the presence of love and we alth in marriage.

Christmas fortune-telling took place in the house or in the bath, the girls had to be barefoot, bare-haired, in nightgowns, so the tradition for menof this kind were prohibited. It was imperative to remove the pectoral cross from oneself, because fortune-telling was equated with a great sin. In many families, it was strictly forbidden at all.

Another tradition is conspiracies. Many older women on Christmas Eve read conspiracies and asked to give their families he alth, prosperity and well-being.

Funny Carols

No less entertaining were and remain Christmas carols. Of course, in our time it is more difficult to carry out such a ceremony, since a large number of cities have appeared. In rural areas, especially when it comes to pre-revolutionary times, carols were a colorful and favorite ritual for both children and adults. Carolers, with sacks of millet, millet and other grains, went from yard to yard. With cheerful incantations, showering the owners and their houses, wished them happiness, we alth, he alth and fertile land. For example:

"We sow, we sow, we sow, we wish piety."

People wished each other harvest, children, we alth, peace and all the best. In response, the hosts treated them to festive food - lush bread, rolls, pies. It was impossible not to treat the caroling person, the owners of the court, who drove the caroling people away, were considered greedy, and the act did not bode well for them. Today, throughout the Christmas week, children go from house to house, recite poems, incantations and receive candies and other sweets for their work.

Christmas table in Russia

The table was laid rich, the owners put out all the best, because pre-Orthodox people experienced a fast that lasted 40days. The fasting calendar does not change, but at different times the table was set in its own way: some dishes left the life of Russian people, some came. But, basically, they put:

  • sbiten,
  • honey,
  • steamed vegetables,
  • pies,
  • chickens,
  • mushrooms,
  • balls were rolled from sweet crumbs, it was a favorite delicacy of children.

Later they began to make cookies, which were treated to the whole Christmas week. It is believed that Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol described the feast and festive festivities very well. It's right. But, do not forget that this describes the traditions of one place: the Ukrainian farm of Dikanka and the territory closest to it, as well as one time. Despite the general plot and the meaning of the holidays, each region brought something of its own, made its own dishes, invented its own games and incantations.

But the main dish was and still is Christmas kutya. According to one version, kutya promised he alth and we alth: lush, fragrant kutya was good, and thin, not rising, meant not a very good year. According to another version, during the holy week, she was commemorated and treated to the departed people. At the table laid for the holiday, there must have been extra cutlery. One way or another, kutya was a favorite, sweet and warming inside, a dish on the festive table, from which the meal began and ended. There were many recipes, including seeds, dried berries, honey, cereals and butter.

Modern traditions

Currently, every Russian family loves and celebrates this event. In the eveningsyoung girls continue to guess at their betrothed, and count the number of future children. On the night before Christmas, all of Russia makes wishes. Young people meet in the central square, and cultural institutions organize various events and competitions for people of all ages. The city administration is decorating the Christmas tree, making slides and labyrinths to make the holiday a mass event.

Only holidays have been shortened, as the weekend now starts with the New Year's feast. Two days after the meeting of such a bright day as Christmas, people go to work. But after the first working week, they are happy to celebrate the Baptism of Russia, which used to end Christmas celebrations.

Great attention in our time is given to gifts. Buying and giving gifts at Christmas has become a modern tradition. The idea was quickly picked up by commercial structures and today on the shelves we see not only New Year's, but also Christmas gifts.

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