13 days have passed since Christmas was celebrated on December 25th, and now it’s Christmas all over again! The date of January 7th is when Christmas takes place on the Eastern Orthodox calendar, and when Russian, and Ukrainian Orthodox Christians get to celebrate the holiday. In Russia December 25th is not a holiday and individuals still have to work.
Of course Orthodox Christians and Catholics do not solely live in just Russia, or the Ukraine; those who live outside of the two countries get to celebrate Christmas on this date also. In the west (i.e Canada/USA) most get to celebrate on December 25th , and January 7th. The point is it just depends where you live, who you are and what date feels more festive to you- and if you love Christmas so much you can celebrate it twice. Just enjoy yourselves and the holidays! 😛 Merry Christmas my Orthodox readers and my Matryoshka’s! Last time I put up a post on the Christmas scene in Russia and the Ukraine but this time I’m just going to tell you a bit about Ded Moroz the Russian equivalent to Santa Claus and of Yolka- The Christmas tree!!
Ded Moroz (Santa Claus/ Father Frost) rides a Troika (sled)
Ded Moroz(Santa Claus)
The legends have it that (Ded Moroz) Santa Claus was born in Asia Minor at at the Greco-Roman city of of Myra in the province of Lycia, at a time when the region was entirely Greek in origin. Due to the suppression of religion during the Soviet regime, St. Nicholas was replaced by Ded Moroz or Grandfather Frost, the Russian Spirit of Winter who brought gifts on New Year’s- not Christmas. He is accompanied by Snyegurochka, the Snowmaiden, who helps distribute the gifts.
Yolka (Christmas tree)
During the Soviet era the tradition of the Christmas tree/ Yolka was actually banned. individuals kept the tradition alive by decorating their New Year’s tree’s instead. When ornaments were too costly family’s would decorate their tree’s with home made decorations, or even fruit. Peter The Great introduced the custom of decorating christmas tree’s after his visit to Europe in the 1700’s- and Yolka means “fir tree”.