Russian Winter: holidays and calendar
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Russian ethnic tradition and calendar

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas

Konstantin Korovin "Winter" (1894)

... there is no error here! In Russia, New Year holiday celebrated in accordance with New Style calendar, but Christmas celebrated in Orthodox Church tradition at January,7 (December,25 by Old Style). It may be possible to celebrate 4 holidays instead 2 (2 in Western-style tradition and 2 in Russian-style tradition - Orthodox Christmas and "Old" New Year). Enjoy with Russian-style celebration of Christmas and New Year! See calendar below.

Father Frost and Snow Maiden

Snow Maiden (Snegoyrachka)They are general personages of Russian winter holidays. Father Frost (in Russian pronounced "Ded Moroz") closely related to Santa Claus. He dressed just as Santa but with red long-lap fur coat (because of great Russian frosts). Snow Maiden (pronounced "Snegoyrachka" in Russian) has no prototypes in Western tradition. She is careful assistant to the Father Frost. She dressed with long-lap fur coat and Russian-style kokoshnik and sapozhki (girl's boots). In Russian ethnic mythology Snow Maiden fall in love with Slavic herdsman and tragically perished at Spring. She melted away. Rimsky-Korsakov: Snow Maiden opera tell us this beautiful story. To learn more about Snow Maiden read The Little Snowgirl : An Old Russian Tale book.

In Soviet mythology Father Frost with his granddaughter Snow Maiden arrive by New Year (Soviet politicians tried to eradicate Christmassy tradition). So at modern time Father Frost and Snow Maiden appear both by New Year and by Christmas.

Swiatki (Christmastide)

Two-week feast between Orthodox Christmas (January,7) and Epiphany (January,19) was named Swiatki. This festival disapproved by Church but was popular among people. Fortune-telling, ethnic songs and dancing, carnivals and games took place at this time. Maidens told her fortune about future marriage. There are many rituals of such fortune-telling.


December, 2001

SuMo TuWe ThFr Sa

January, 2002

SuMo TuWe ThFr Sa

The Orthodox Church seasons based on Julian calendar (Old Style calendar), so Orthodox Holidays have a 13 days discrepancy from the modern Gregorian calendar (New Style calendar). Thus, Christmas is celebrated on January,7 instead of December,25.

December,24: Western Christmas
January,1: New Year
January,7: Orthodox Christmas
January,14: Old-syle New Year
January,19: Epiphany

Swiatki festival begin at January,7 (New Style), end on January,19.


Last update: 12.16.2001

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