Russian Christmas is celebrated later than in other countries, including the Untied States and most of Europe. Most Russian Christians belong to the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar to schedule holidays. Since they use a different calendar, their Christmas celebrations are 13 days later, on January 7th.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, as were other religious celebrations. Christmas was forbidden to be openly celebrated for 75 years. In 1992, Christmas was once again allowed to be openly observed.
The mother of the family blesses each person, by putting a cross on their forehead with honey, saying, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, may you have sweetness and many good things in life".
The Russian Christmas Tree is called "Yelka". The Yelka is a traditional Christmas symbol in Russia. Most Russian's decorate their Christmas tree with lights and flowers. The flowers on the tree are real and silk.
St. Nicholas used to deliver Christmas gifts to the children, but Grandfather Frost took over in honor of the New Year during communist rule. Grandfather Frost continues to deliver the Christmas gifts to the children, even though communism has fallen. Instead of a Santa's red suit, Grandfather Frost wears a blue suit. Grandfather Frost is accompanied by a handmaiden who hands out the presents.
The legend of Babouschka has returned to Russia. Babouschka is said to be a woman who helped to direct the Three Kinds to Bethlehem to visit the Baby Jesus. She was invited to join the Wise Men, but declined because of the cold. She changed her mind, but by that time the Wise Men wree gone. Babouschka continues to spend Three Kings Day delivering presents and she searches for Jesus' crib.