Holidays & Observances in Russia
Russia is a large country in Northern Asia connected to Europe. The unique Russian culture is a result of the many different phases of history. This can be seen in the holidays more than anything else. Pre-Christian traditions were integrated into Christian holidays as soon as Christianity became the dominant religion. Later, during the soviet era, Christian holiday traditions were integrated into secular holidays as Christian celebrations were discouraged by the soviet government. This has made Russian holidays incredibly unique. New Years, for instance, is celebrated in Russia the same way many countries celebrate Christmas, complete with a Santa Clause-like figure who leaves presents for the children under a tree. This way, even though Christmas was not allowed to be celebrated, the children could still enjoy its traditions. This New Year’s celebration is common in many former Soviet countries. Today the people of Russia are trying to reclaim their former identity of Russian Orthodoxy, and religious holidays such as Christmas are again becoming popular.