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date: 24 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Christmas was a contested holiday from the moment of its introduction into the Russian lands, and continues to be so today. The history of Christmas celebrations in Orthodox Russia reveals how conceptions of time and human nature were reflected upon and through the Christmas holidays in rural and urban Russia and, later, through the Bolsheviks’ attempts to suppress these same holidays. In this chapter, the Orthodox Christmas season in Russia is described from the Nativity fast to New Year and then Epiphany celebrations. The chapter includes discussion of the origins of various facets of the Russian Christmas, including Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) and the elka (the Christmas tree), and of Russian Christmas stories, such as Dostoevsky’s ‘The Boy at Christ’s Christmas Party’.

Keywords: Russia, Orthodoxy, elka, Ded Moroz, Russian Revolution, New Year’s, Bolshevism: Nativity Fast, Epiphany, Fyodor Dostoevsky

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