If you wander Moscow’s streets between Christmas and New Year’s, you may come upon a shop like this one, still selling decorations and party favors. In most of the world, the season’s biggest holiday is long over and the winter holidays are wrapping up. But in Russia, New Year celebrations are much more important. This is partly a relic of the Soviet Union, which frowned on religious holidays and banned Christmas until the USSR collapsed in the early 1990s.
Russia has its own holiday traditions. On New Year’s Eve, Grandfather Frost brings children presents, and people cheer as the clock in the Kremlin counts down the end of the year.
Celebrations continue through much of January. The Russian Orthodox Church has Christmas on Jan. 7—that’s Jan. 7 of the old Julian calendar, which the church still uses, and Jan. 13 to the rest of us. On Jan. 14, many Russians commemorate Old New Year (when the new year comes according the Julian calendar). Yes, Russians celebrate New Year’s Eve twice. The second holiday, which signals the end of winter holiday festivities, tends to be more casual and contemplative of the two.
- Holidays & Celebrations
- Society & Culture