Christmas is one of the most important and merriest Christian holidays. Because of the discrepancy between church calendars, Christmas is celebrated on 7 of January.

To feel the mood of this wonderful holiday, let’s try to plunge in the life of an Orthodox family, which is going to celebrate Christmas in best traditions.

Christmas was awaited all the year and the preparing was careful, thorough and painstaking. In old days people cleaned the house thoroughly, decorated New Year Tree and cooked for Christmas table in good time.

The Christmas Eve is crowned with the end of four-week advent. People ate only fish and vegetables. Thanks to God, Russian rivers were overfull with various fishes – beluga, sturgeon, zander, herring, sheat-fish, bream and many other. At Christmas Eve people kept themselves from eating until late evening, “the first star”.

But the table at Christmas was groaning with food. All the family gathered around the table. Pork, goose, turkey, hazel grouse, black grouse, wood grouse and duck. Fried Poultry is a must on the Christmas table. Chicken is served cold and duck or goose – hot. The cold dish is garnished with pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, apples and greens. The hot dish is served with steaming potatoes, pickles and pickled cowberries. Mouthwatering appetizers – meat and fish cuts, pickles and salads, all kinds of pies and cookies that were given to everyone who came to sing Christmas carols. Christmas table was decorated in a special way: it was necessary to put a handful of hay under the table-cloth (to keep in mind the crib of Jesus) and an iron thing under the table where everyone should touch it as it symbolizes the health and strength.

At the table people ate, drank, wished each other all the best and exchanged Christmas presents, enrapturing kids most of all. The next day was usually devoted to guests and friends visits.
Well, my dear friends, Merry Christmas!