Traditional Christmas isn’t actually celebrated on the 25th of December in Russia. Here the Russian Orthodox Church follows the old “Julian” calendar, this means Christmas falls on January 7th. What is wonderful about the celebration here is that they practice what is called “Advent”, which starts four Sundays before Christmas. If you are familiar with Advent, it’s the time period from December 1st until Christmas day. The actual meaning is ‘coming’ in Latin. It’s a time spent remembering the reason why Christmas is celebrated in the first place (love it).
And a Happy New Year
But not everyone in Russia is Orthodox some of us are Catholic others are Protestant and in all of that mix falls our church. We chose to celebrate the birth of Christ on the 25th of December. After hearing the stories of how Christmas was suppressed for nearly 70 years by the Soviet Union Leadership it’s understandable why they did so. Christmas officially is celebrated starting on December 31st until January 10th.
In Russian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘s rah-zh-dee-st-VOHM’ (C рождеством!) or ‘s-schah-st-lee-vah-vah rah-zh dee-st-vah’ (Счастливого рождества!). So if you have any Russian friends I’m sure they love to hear you say it (don’t worry about your American accent).