Christmas is the second significant and important holiday of Orthodoxy. It is also selebrated at the state level. This date by the Gregorian calendar is marked by the birth of Jesus Christ. In Russia, this holiday, in addition to the traditional Christmas Tree and the preceding post, acquired special Slavic features, replenished with rituals and rituals and rituals:
Conclusion of contracts. From Christmas to Scrovetyde, new annual contracts were concluded between the tradesman. During this period, business people tried to sum up and close last year's obligations to start a new contractual relationship.
Burning sheaves. Christmas also ended the agricultural year. In autumn, during the harvest, the owner chose the best sheaf and placed it under the image in the red corner of the house. On Christmas Eve this gift was burned as a sign of a new hope for a future harvest. On Christmas and holy days people looked to a better future.
Everyone tried to put on and buy beautiful clothes, cook the most delicious and satisfying food, give expensive gifts. Generosity of actions attracted the generosity of fate and new hope.
Nativity and Kolyada. From Europe to Russia came the custom of theatrical performances associated with the birth of the infant Christ, the so-called «nativity scenes». In the Russian nativity scenes, they were transformed into processions of mummers and puppet theaters in the squares. But Orthodoxy prohibited to use dolls of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, they were replaced by icons.
Kolyada (glory) is the custom to come to neighbors with a song glorifying Christmas. The masqueraded artists were awarded a delicious treat, specially baked pies and cooked sweets.
Christmas Eve. The day before Christmas is called Christmas Eve according to the name of lenten porridge with honey, nuts and poppy seeds. Before the first star, nothing else was eaten on that day. The girls were guessing at the bridegrooms. After dinner on Christmas Eve according to custom, the owner collected all the remaining food from the table and carried it to pets to share with them the joy of the birth of the Savior.
The Christmas fast ended with the ascent to the sky of the first star, which marked the birth of the baby Jesus. This holiday was preparing the most full meal. The dishes consisted of large pieces of meat, fish and poultry baked in the oven. All the baking was also cooked with meat stuffing. Famous «kalachi», «kulebyaki», pancakes and pies decorated the Christmas table.