Christmas in Russia
Contemporary Russian Christmas celebrations mix traditional folk and religious customs with remnants of the secular celebrations instituted during the Communist era (1917-1991). The traditional Russian Christmas season, called Sviatki, lasted from Christmas to Epiphany, and was marked by feasting, fortune-telling, merrymaking, and religious observance. Since the fall of the Communist government the observance of religious holidays has been increasing. Most Russians who claim a religious affiliation are Orthodox Christians, a branch of the Christian faith known for its ancient and elaborate rituals. Since the Russian Orthodox Church still follows the Julian calendar, Russians celebrate Christmas on January 7 rather than on December 25 (see also Old Christmas Day). Exposure to and adoption of Western Christmas customs has also increased in recent years.