Christmas in Russia
The Russian Orthodox culture celebrates Christmas by deeply observing the spiritual values and in some cases “spiritual”. Yes, because the charm of Russian Christmas derives from ancient esoteric traditions, which in part are linked to Christmas, as a Christian holiday.
The Orthodox Russians are preparing for Christmas by observing a period of purification that consists above all of strictly avoiding the consumption of meat and alcohol.
According to Russian tradition, this abstinence ends on a specific date, that is January 7, in which a star appears in the sky that signals the birth of Jesus and therefore Christmas.
The eve of the Russian Christmas is therefore January 6th and includes a very special evening, as we celebrate at the same time an ancient party called Svyatki, based on a ritual with an esoteric and spiritual character.
Here then young women decorate a kind of altar with candles and mirrors, reciting a verbal formula that serves to invoke the image of their future life partner. The evening can continue by reading tea or coffee grounds.
The divination aspect makes the context of Christmas very special. It is a real Christmas ritual linked to the chiromancy and the ancient culture of divination. In this sense, the Christmas evening still has a “magical” value, not only in terms of atmosphere and decorations …
The peculiarity of Russian Christmas is therefore linked to spiritual value, and the sense of mystery loads the Christmas atmosphere of charm and esoteric meaning.
During the eve dinner, some codified rituals are held and a meal is strictly consumed without meat, fish or alcohol. There must be 12 different dishes on the table to symbolize the number of the apostles. This serves to remind us that a Christian dinner is taking place, and the guests are “observing the word of God” and honoring the memory of the apostles.
The dinner begins with a Christmas prayer, which traditionally must be made by the head of the family (man). Immediately after the prayer, the mother has the task of blessing all the diners by marking a cross on their forehead, after having dipped their fingers in honey.
Another peculiarity is linked to the great symbolic value of the Russian Christmas, is given by the importance that honey assumes as a basic food for Christmas: it is used to sweeten all the dishes, even the salty ones. Honey symbolizes the joy of life, the birth, the abundance and the sweetness of life as a gift.
Discover other Christmas celebrations in this post: traditions from the world: the five most particular Christmas celebrations