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28-Feb-2020 06:52 by 7 Comments

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But it's still a quieter and smaller holiday in Russia after the big New Year celebrations.

The date is different because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old 'Julian' calendar for religious celebration days. But it has fixed dates, starting on 28th November and going to the 6th January, so it's 40 days long. Some people fast (don't eat anything) on Christmas Eve, until the first star has appeared in the sky.

The Russian word for Christmas Eve 'sochelnik', comes from the word 'sochivo'.

Some Orthodox Christian Russians also don't eat any meat or fish during the Christmas Eve meal/feast.

Her garden was beautiful and her cooking was wonderful.

One evening she was busy dusting and cleaning, so busy that she didn't hear all the villagers outside in the village square talking about and looking at the new star in sky. " The kings didn't know, but they believed that it would lead the to a new-born king, a King of Earth and Heaven.

The official Christmas and New holidays in Russia last from December 31st to January 10th. People then eat 'sochivo' or 'kutia' a porridge made from wheat or rice served with honey, poppy seeds, fruit (especially berries and dried fruit like raisins), chopped walnuts or sometimes even fruit jellies!

Kutia is sometimes eaten from one common bowl, this symbolizes unity.

I've had many emails from Russian visitors to the site who have never heard the story before! The house will have to be cleaned when they've gone. "I'll come tomorrow," Babushka called, "I must just tidy here first and find a gift." The kings went away sadly.

Once in a small Russian town, there lived a women called Babushka. "My baby son, died when he was small." Balthasar stopped her as she went to tidy the kitchen up. Come with us when the star appears tonight." he said. As the kings slept, Babushka tidied up as quietly as she could. " she thought, "and this new king, what a funny idea, to go off with the kings to find him." Babushka shook herself. I couldn't just leave it." Suddenly it was night-time again and the star was in the sky. Babushka ran back into her house, keen to get on with her work.

Dessert is often things like fruit pies, gingerbread and honeybread cookies (called Pryaniki) and fresh and dried fruit and more nuts. "That's where the royal baby would be born." "No, there is no royal baby here," said the palace guard when she asked him.

There are Russian Christmas cookies called Kozulya which are made in the shape of a sheep, goat or deer.

On New Year's eve children hold hands, make a circle around the Christmas tree and call for Snegurochka or Ded Moroz.