Facts about how Russians celebrate Christmas:
- Ok, that’s not entirely true… they do but they celebrate it on January 7th (according to the old Julian calendar).
- Christmas (Jan. 7th) is not the main holiday for them. New Years is the most anticipated holiday of the year.
- Russians believe not in Santa Claus but in Ded Moroz (Father Frost) and his granddaughter, Snegurochka (Snow Maiden).
- Ded Moroz and Snegurochka come on New Year’s Eve. (Future post on New Year’s + Ded Moroz and Snegurochka)
I always quiz my students on their knowledge of American holiday traditions, so Christmas was no different!
Below is a snippet of the quiz, many questions of which my students had trouble answering. Answers are provided just in case you don’t know ;).
- How does Santa deliver his presents to little boys and girls all over the world in one night?
Santa and his reindeer are super fast and, with the help of a little magic and preparation, they make it to every house for every kid who believes in him and has been good that year.
- How can Santa deliver all the presents when it’s bad/foggy weather?
Santa has one awesome reindeer (Rudolph) who has a red nose that helps him guide the sleigh through bad weather to reach all of the kids.
- When does Santa come?
He sneaks in in the middle of the night when all of the kids are asleep. For this reason, kids usually go to bed around 10/11 p.m. and parents stay up a little later ?.
- Where does Santa get the presents from?
Santa has elves who make the presents in the North Pole
- When do kids see what Santa brought them?
First thing on Christmas morning
Other interesting facts my students weren’t aware of:
- Santa usually brings more than 1 gift and all of the stuff in the stocking.
*Families do this in different ways: some wrap gifts from Santa in special ‘Santa’ paper, some leave Santa’s gifts unwrapped (see pic below) and sometimes Santa brings individual/personalized bags filled with gifts.
**Stockings typically include small things such as candy, lotion/makeup, toy cars, barbies, socks/gloves/scarves, jewelry, etc. Stockings are often too heavy to hang up and so they are left sitting on the couch or a chair.
- In addition to Santa’s gifts, parents also give gifts to their children (usually more than 1) on Christmas, and kids usually give gifts to their parents.
- Usually Christmas holiday is celebrated with family. Friends are mostly only invited if they are not able to go to their own families at this time.
- Santa isn’t a bachelor for life, he is married to Mrs. Claus and she is a big help!
- *See the new Marks and Spencer’s commercial.
- They all live in the North Pole with their elves and reindeer.
- Kids usually put out milk and cookies for Santa.