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7 January in Russian history

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This day in Russian history and the History of the world

January 7, 1: Russian Orthodox Christmas. The Russian Orthodox Church Christmas is celebrated on the 7th January (the night from 6 to 7 the January in fact). In 1852 the first Christmas tree was decorated in Russia, at the initiative of Peter the Great who borrowed this Western tradition.

Before this houses in Russia had been decorated with branches of fruit trees. Russian Orthodox Christmas is a day of both solemn ritual and joyous celebration.

It's in grand fashion, with the faithful participation in the all-night Mass in Cathedrals amidst the company of the painted icons of Saints, not only in Russia but in Ukraine and Belarus and some other ex-USSR countries.

The Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar; therefore Christmas celebration falls on January 7th, 13 days behind the West.

This was initially a religious holiday before which people were supposed to fast for 6 weeks (Christmas fast).


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