Travel to Russia with Your Personal Guide & Driver in
Moscow Arthur Lookyanov
Travel to Russia with Your Private Guide and Professional Driver

The Favorite Holiday in Russia

The Favorite Holiday in Russia

There are many holidays in Russia, but without a doubt the celebration of New Year's is the favorite holiday in modern Russia when people from all generations start to plan far in advance how they will spend this time. At first I would like to point out to you the difference in dates between the celebration of Christmas in the Catholic and Orthodox churches. In the West, the favorite family holiday is the celebration of Christmas on December 25th (Gregorian claendar), almost a week before the New Year. In the Orthodox countries such as Russia, the Ukraine, or Belorussia, we celebrate Christmas a week after New Year's, on January 7th (Julian calendar). During the Soviet times religion was underground in the USSR and right after the Soviet October Socialist revolution in 1917, the leaders tried to eliminate religion from the lives of the people. In the period after the revolution, but before the Great Patriotic War that started in 1941, the Communists and Bolsheviks destroyed many of the monasteries and churches all over the country. Stalin had a plan in the beginning of the 1940's where all the religious houses would be closed and transferred into state houses. This plan was to use the buildings of the churches for different purposes, but not for religious means. For example, in the villages it was quite popular to use the former churches as clubs of culture, offices for state companies or just simply to use them as places for storage of agricultural products or machines. Instead of the celebration of Christmas, the Bolsheviks and Communists, who had banned the open expression of religion, reinvented the New Year's holiday tradition to include a decorated tree and also intorduced a character called "Ded Moroz," (Grandfather Frost). This fairy tale figure resembled Santa Claus, with the exception of different clothes. The celebration of New Year's then became one of the main holidays in the USSR instead of the "forgotten" Christmas. After the start of democracy from 1991, the situation of course was changed dramatically. Now we can see the revival of Russian traditions from before the Soviet times where more and more poeple returned to the recently renovated or rebuilt churches. We celebrate Christmas on January 7th as well and it is one of our national holidays. Yet the most favorite event for Russians is still the celebration of New Year's.

This picture of State Historical Museum with New Year's tree nearby I took this early morning when was pretty cold (-10 C) and my fingers were almost frosen to hold and operate my camera with tripod. Still was not snow in Moscow... Please, continue to read my story with a picture of the Red Square I took for you on the next morning: Celebrations of New Year's Eve in Russia.

With BEST Regards from Moscow,
Arthur Lookyanov
Seasons Greetings 2009 Year
Deted: Dec 22nd, 2008

Photo taken on 2008-12-22 at 08:25:43

Random customer's Responses & Recommendations.
You are welcome to visit web site of Moscow Guide Arthur Lookyanov.
Allen and Leann Almquist Allen and Leann Almquist
From: USA
Date: 2012-09-08 13:22:03

Arthur, thank you for your patience as well flexibility in getting us to all the Orthodox sites we could fit in. The trip to the church supply stores (especially Sofrino's) was exciting for us and, hopefully, fun for you. Now you can take other Orthodox tourists to these hot spots for vestments, icons, and other Russian Orthodox "souvenirs". The St. Sergius Lavra was outstanding, as well as Christ the Saviour Cathedral and all the other "domes" . . . we enjoyed our time with you and will enjoy our photos for years to come. All the best.