Fairytale Like Christmas Celebration in Moscow

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Christmas in Russia is different from Christmas celebrated in the rest of the world. For starters, they are celebrated on January 7, rather than on December 25. The date is different because the Russian Orthodox church uses the old Julian calendar for religious celebration days, and Christmas is mainly a religious event in Russia. Many orthodox Christians also avoid meat and fish during the 40-day Lent period preceding Christmas Day. The Lent period ends with the rise of the first star in the night sky on January 6. That day, many Christians go to the church to attend several long services including Christmas liturgy. Evening is time for family and friends and sumptuous dinners.

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Photo credit: Kristina Makeeva

Russian Christmas started deviating from the rest of the world after the Russian Revolution of 1917, when religious celebrations were banned by the officially atheist state. So the Russian people started adopting Christmas tradition such as decorating spruce trees, family gatherings and gift-giving as part of the secular New Year celebration. Christmas became official in Russia only after the 1990s with the break up of the union. It began regaining popularity only recently, but New Year celebration is still very important to Russians, sometimes even more than Christmas.

The official Christmas and New holidays in Russia last from December 31st to January 10th. During this eleven-day festive period, Christmas fairs open all over the country in towns and cities. Moscow especially turns into a magical land with brightly lit buildings and trees, as you can see in these images.

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Photo credit: Kristina Makeeva

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Photo credit: Kristina Makeeva

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Photo credit: Kristina Makeeva

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Photo credit: Kristina Makeeva

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Photo credit: rodham.livejournal.com

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Photo credit: Andrew Gutzkow / TVC.ru

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Photo credit: Andrew Gutzkow / TVC.ru

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Photo credit: Andrew Gutzkow / TVC.ru

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Photo credit: rodham.livejournal.com

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Photo credit: rodham.livejournal.com

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Photo credit: Darya Antonova / IA REGNUM

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