Christmas in Russia is most widely celebrated on January 7, according to the Orthodox calendar.New Year's Day, January 1st, precedes the Russian Christmas and is often celebrated as a more important holiday.
The Christmas Eve meal is typically meatless and may be made up of twelve dishes to represent the twelve apostles.
Lenten bread, dipped in honey and garlic, is shared by all members at the family gathering.
Kutya is a concoction of grains and poppyseeds sweetened with honey, which serves as one of the main dishes of the pre-Christmas feast.
For example, a white tablecloth and hay remind Christmas Eve diners of Christ's manger.
A meatless meal may be prepared for Christmas Eve, which is eaten only after the appearance of the first star in the sky.
A Christmas church service, which happens the night of Christmas Eve, is attended by members of the Orthodox church.Even the President of Russia has begun attending these solemn, beautiful services in Moscow.Christmas was not able to be publicly celebrated during much of the 20th century.In addition, many Russians identify themselves as atheists, so religious observance of Christmas has faded out of fashion.However, increasingly, some Russians are returning to religion (Russian Orthodoxy), and therefore the number of people celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday continues to grow.Some Orthodox Christian Christmas traditions mimic those traditions in other parts of Eastern Europe.