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BellaOnline's Russian Culture Editor

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Holidays

The dates and meanings of Russian holidays old and new, plus information on the old calendar

Ded Moroz The Russian Santa star
Ded Moroz is the Russian Santa Claus. He is often accompanied on his gift giving missions by Snegurochka.

Great Lent Week 3 star
The third Sunday of Great Lent is known as the “Veneration of the Cross.” Veneration in the Russian Orthodox church is an important concept and an act of devotion.

Maslenitsa Butterweek Russian Mardi Gras star
Maslenitsa or Butterweek is the Russian version of Mardi Gras -- a week long celebration before the beginning of Great Lent. Blini or pancakes are eaten in great quantities and served with everything from melted butter to caviar.

Russian Christmas Rozhdestvo star
My fondest recollections of the Yule season date back to childhood, when I anxiously awaited the arrival of not Santa Claus, but the Russian Santa called Ded Moroz or Grandfather Frost. Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated thirteen days after December twenty fifth.

Russian Easter Paskha star
Russian Easter is the holiday of holidays and the feast of feasts. Even the sun plays in joy on Easter, a day meant for rejoicing and reminding us of everlasting life. The Easter service is four hours long and is just the beginning of celebrations that last for 40 days.

Russian New Years' star
“S Novim Godom” – translated as – “With the New Year” is the Russian greeting that ushers in the beginning of another year. Read about traditional celebrations.

Svyatki a Yule Holiday star
The Christmas holiday is celebrated for a period of two weeks until Epiphany and is known as Svyatki. Russians travel from one house to another, singing carols or kalyadki, eating and drinking. Good wishes abound and in the past, it was the time for divining the future.

The Forbidden Russian Christmas star
Believe it or not, during the history of Russia, while the country was known as the Soviet Union or USSR, Christmas was actually forbidden by the state and outlawed.

The Sun in Slavic Mythology star
Despite the traditional mythological views of the sun’s masculinity, Slavic mythology sometimes perceived the sun as feminine and the moon then took on a masculine role.

Troitsa Trinity Sunday star
Troitsa or Trinity Sunday is celebrated 50 days after Easter. Churches and homes are adorned with greenery and flowers. The symbolism of the color green is that of life and it also is a grafting of the old Russian customs with the sacred.

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