At Meeting Halfway, we’re very curious about how people celebrate Christmas around Europe and decided to ask our collaborators about it. Are you curious too?
Meeting Halfway team / 17.01.2022
What is your name and where are you from?
Julia Mayer: My name is Julia and I’m from Germany.
Elena Alaukhova: My name is Elena and I’m Russian.
Elena Bzhania: I’m Elena and I’m Russian as well.
How do people celebrate Christmas in your country? Do you have any special traditions?
Julia: We celebrate Christmas on 24 December and the two following public holidays. On Christmas Eve itself, we usually celebrate with our close family and then visit our grandparents and the rest of the family on the following days. In my opinion, it’s very important and fulfilling to spend time with your family. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do this because it’s quieter and many people who live outside their home country come back home at this time of the year.
Elena A: In Russia, we celebrate Christmas on 7 January and we don’t have Santa on this day. It’s mainly a religious holiday, so religious people attend ceremonies and go to church. For everyone else, it’s a family holiday and we usually gather around the table. Children go to different houses to sing songs and get sweets. Generally, girls are curious about their future and often tell fortunes.
Elena B: In my country, we celebrate the New Year more than Christmas. Religious believers go to church at Christmas and have a festive meal. People who aren’t religious have a day off and in some cases have a feast.
Does Santa Claus bring gifts to children in your country?
Julia: Yes, he does. On Christmas Eve, 24 December, children get their presents from Santa Claus.
Elena A: We don’t have Santa at Christmas, but we have a character similar to Santa Claus called “Grandfather Frost”. He visits houses with his granddaughter “Snegurochka” (Snow Maiden) at New Year, on the night of 31 December into the early hours of 1 January. Together, they bring gifts to children, especially those who have been good and obedient.
Elena B: In my country, Дед Мороз (Grandfather Frost) brings gifts to children, but not on Christmas Day. Instead, he brings them on New Year’s – the night of 31 December.
What is your favourite Christmas food?
Julia: In southern Germany, a typical Christmas Eve meal is string sausages with lentils and “spaetzle” (a special type of noodles). As a vegetarian, I prefer raclette at Christmas time. Raclette means you can put your food together yourself and have an enjoyable time with your family and friends.
Elena A: My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas as we aren’t religious. However, the most popular dish in Russia is herring under a fur coat, vinaigrette and jellied meat. One of the traditional dishes is kutya (boiled ground wheat with nuts, honey and dried fruit).
Elena B: I don’t have a favourite Christmas food and I don’t have a favourite New Year’s dish either. I just love the fact that there are a lot of delicious dishes on the table.