Have you ever considered traveling to Russia for Christmas? This beautiful country doesn’t just offer stupendous architecture and amazing attractions, but also an interesting Christmas background. In the Soviet Union, Christmas was never celebrated in December; only the New Year was important.

Citizens use the “Julian” calendar after the Russian Orthodox Church, and the official holiday season begins on December 31 and ends of January 10.

If you’re traveling from overseas and you’d like to spend Christmas twice, Russia is your best bet as Christmas in on January 7 and last for 3 days. Some might think it’s weird to have New Year and then Christmas, but in Russia, this is normal. Here are some tips to sweeten your winter holiday.

Christmas in Russia is followed by a number of traditions

The Russian Christmas holiday is associated with practices from both the Christian and pre-Christian past. The locals dress as manger animals and go from house to house and sing special songs known as “kolyadki”.

In return for these pastoral carols, they get coins and food. In some Russian villages, the tradition is still maintained alive. As for Santa Claus, in Russia it is known as DedMoroz, or the Father Frost. He comes accompanied by the Snow Maiden (Snegurochka) and he delivers gifts to kids, which are placed under the New Year tree.

Some of the most common gift ideas are Russian lacquer boxes and nesting dolls, which can be found everywhere around Russia’s cities during the holiday season.

Where to spend Christmas in Russia

Moscow is without a doubt the best place in Russia to spend Christmas, in January. The capital city is covered in snow during the holidays, as well as in Christmas decorations.

Visit the Red Square, admire the St. Basil Cathedral and don’t forget to stop by the History Museum, too. Complete your adventure throughout the city by visiting the Kremlin and its wealth of churches.

Try out the traditional Russian food on Christmas

In Russia, the traditional Christmas dinner is known as “the holy supper”. Each type of food served represents one of the twelve apostles. The food doesn’t contain any meat and it starts with a prayer guided by the oldest father in the family.

At the end, the mother blesses the food and each family member with a cross on the forehead made with honey. Here are some traditional types of Russian food on Christmas.

Pagach – Lenten bread, also known as the first type of food eaten after the Russian fast; it must be dipped in honey first (which is a symbol of life’s sweetness), and then in chopped garlic (symbol of life’s bitterness).

Kutya – special type of porridge which contains whole grains, poppy seeds, and honey

Bobal’ki – small types of biscuits that comes with honey, sauerkraut and poppy seeds.

Explore Russia’s stunning architecture

Spend Christmas in Moscow by checking out some of its finest architectural wonders. Start with the Tretyakov Gallery. The permanent art collections were donated to the city in 1912, by a senior Russian merchant known as Pavel Tretyakov.

This world-famous museum is a major Russian attraction that currently boasts over 170,000 works of art by famous Russian and international artists.

After you’ve seen the galleries, it’s time to enjoy a ride with the metro. Don’t worry, it will be a trip worth every second of it; you’re about to see one of the world’s most beautiful subway stations.

Richly decorated in marble, frescoes and granite, this place is often called “the palace of the people”. Uniquely designed and decorated, Moscow’s Metro areahas to be included on your travel itinerary for this Christmas.

Prepare to go back in time, in the early 20thcentury, and admire this genuine architectural gemstone. The system is built mostly underground and it covers an area of 327 km.

Featuring 196 stations, it’s certainly the most practical way of seeing Moscow’s main attractions throughout the holidays. Russia is a massive country that spreads beyond its main capital, Moscow. There are numerous other cities you might want to explore such as St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Samara, Kazan and numerous others.

Dress accordingly as the weather conditions in January are incredibly low, and enjoy the best Russian holidays of your life.