In the Russia Christmas is one of the major holidays and also one of the greatest church holidays next to Easter. Russian Orthodox Christian follows the Julian calendar and Christmas is celebrated on 7th January and not on 25th December.
The new Soviet Government tried to change the Julian calendar to Gregorian just like in European countries and the rest of the world celebrates but the Russian Orthodox Church did not agree to it and made all important church celebrations according to the old calendar. Christmas in Saint Petersburg, Russia sounds more like Happy New Year and Christmas rather than Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The first week of January in Russia is an official holiday that begins from the New Year’s day of Christmas.
Quick Links For Christmas In Saint Petersburg
Russian Christmas Tradition
Are you planning to spend Christmas holidays in Russia? Then you should know one thing that Christmas in St Petersburg, Russia will not celebrate it on 25th December, but is celebrated on 7th January. It is one of the profound religious festivals in Russia. People prepare delicious dishes like stuffed pig’s head, roasted goose with apples, pirogi, pie with desserts like cake, candy, fruits, and biscuits. You will never go hungry on the Christmas day. The table is full with an array of delicious dishes.
Russia is mostly known as a haven for nature and art lovers decorated with snow-capped domes, rich quality glintwein, troika rides, world-class museums, and many others.
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Christmas Weather In St Petersburg
Weather in St Petersburg during Christmas ranges from min temperature of 4⁰C to maximum temperature of 13⁰ C. December is the winter month in Russia and the month is noticed as a mixture of snow and rain throughout December. January is more or less the same, however, temperature reach sub-zero levels as well. So, keep a lot of warm clothes, expect snows but also expect a fun and exciting Christmas in the city of Saint Petersburg.
Christmas In Saint Petersburg Food
As per the tradition of Russian Orthodox, people fast 40 days before Christmas, specifying that they avoid eating meat or dairy products during fasting days. St Petersburg’s restaurants will serve plenty of dishes to its customers like Lake Herring under a fur coat and a lot of glintwein. Some of the food that is eaten on Christmas includes traditional foods like:
· Kutia- is made with little rice pudding cooked and served with poppy seeds, honey, nuts, and dried fruits.
· Sauerkraut- the dish is often served with cranberries and carrot.
People can enjoy the food and also their unique taste just during Christmas.
Christmas Celebrations In Saint Petersburg
If you want to notice and experience the unique Christmas celebration in Petersburg, then you should visit St Petersburg during Christmas to have the authentic look of Russian Christmas Traditions. The Orthodox Church plays a very important role in the lives of the people and is considered as the heart of the Christmas Season.
The Traditional Christmas Celebration begins on 7th January with a Holy Christmas Mass and the breaking of the Russian fast. The Kazan Cathedral is the grand Cathedral of St Petersburg in Russia. Most of the Russian Orthodox Christian takes part in the Orthodox service on Christmas Eve.
People must visit the Cathedral to see the enormous Christmas decorations and catch a glimpse of the Christmas tree outside the Cathedral. You can find more about the Russian tradition, the traditional dishes, drinks by visiting St Petersburg during Christmas.
Top 10 Reasons To Celebrate Christmas In Saint Petersburg
For the unusual celebrations and a unique Christmas experience, Saint Petersburg in Russia is the place. But what makes it interesting and unique to spend Christmas in this city? Here are some of the reasons why you should consider celebrating Christmas in Saint Petersburg this year:
- Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience
- Market During Christmas
- The Largest Orthodox Cathedral
- St Petersburg’s Regent Street
- A Glimpse Of International Festivals
- Catherine Palace
- Make A Way To Troika Rides
- Skate At The Ice Rinks
- Theatre Productions
- Other Things To Do
1. Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience
Christmas in St. Petersburg begins by unveiling images of steaming banyas, frozen canals. You can catch the sight of snow-dusted domes followed by church bells. Once in a lifetime experience can only be seen in St Petersburg during Christmas. The festive decoration around the city will put you in a joyous mood. You can see happy smiles everywhere that really lifts up your spirits. Everything is frozen. So, if you want a white romantic Christmas, Saint Petersburg is where you should be.
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2. Market During Christmas
Are you thinking that is there a Christmas market in St Petersburg? You cannot afford to miss the City Market during Christmas. Makovsky Square, Gatchina Palace, Pionerskaya is some of the cool St Petersburg christmas market 2020 places to visit. At these places, the Romanova family lived for almost 4 generations.
The travelers can also visit the impromptu concerts, gingerbread, toys, grottoes, and fairground rides. These festive markets are great places to do some Christmas shopping. Buy gifts for your family and friends, purchase souvenirs, and bring back some food items that you will only find here. This is the best experience of St Petersburg during Christmas.
Suggested Read: 13 Places To Visit In St Petersburg That Will Serve As A Glorious Retreat For All!
3. The Largest Orthodox Cathedral
St Isaac’s Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Russian and in the world. The cathedral is built with high-quality rich marbles, with awesome architecture elements along with colorful mosaics. It is one of the most beautiful and cool places to visit. You can visit it at any time of the year, but visiting during Christmas where it is fully covered with snow give the magical view that cannot be missed by our sights.
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4. St Petersburg’s Regent Street
Regent Street is also known as Nevsky Prospect. It was considered as the main route to Novgorod. Now you will find the best city shops, architecture, restaurants and one of the best place to buy Christmas gifts for your loved ones. You should visit the Arts and Square place and the Museum. If you are looking for happening places brimming with Christmas fervor, you should come to check out this street.
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5. A Glimpse Of International Festivals
The annual International Festival is held in winter where you will find various cultures that are showcased at Saint Petersburg. The cultures that are displayed are from across the globe and also Russian cultures from some regions. The previous International winter festivals were celebrated with event names like Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Shakespeare. The organizers select a particular event for every year.
Suggested Read: 10 Places To Visit In Russia To Witness The Beauty Of This Incredible Nation
6. Catherine Palace
It is one of the best places to visit in Saint Petersburg – The palace is named after Catherine I the wife of Peter the Great. Catherine I ruled Russia for almost two years after her husband’s death. The building was reconstructed in 1743 by 4 architects. The Imperial Court Chief Architect was allowed to redesign to building completion.
The present palace was completed in the year 1756 and has a 1km circumference. To decorate the external palace during Elizabeth’s reign, it took more than 100kg of gold. It is one of the spectacular palaces to see and to admire the architectural beauty.
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7. Make A Way To Troika Rides
The visitors can do many things in the snow during the Christmas season. The visitors need to carry some finest ear muffs, Cossacks hats and visit Pavlovsk. Pavlovsk is situated just outside the city and is a home for summer time and royal retreats. The palace has sufficient ground that is used to organize rides mostly commonly one are the snowy troika ride and Traditional Russian carriage that is carried out by three horse members of the team.
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8. Skate At The Ice Rinks
Christmas in St Petersburg is welcomed with a sport that is one of the biggest essence of winters. Ice skating is a favored past-time during Christmas celebrations in St Petersburg. Visit New Holland which is a new regenerated arts district which is loved by families for its nearby reindeer farms allowing the petting of animals and its skating rinks.
9. Theatre Productions
The skyline is bold and needs a special sort of celebration. The uniqueness is clearly distinctive when you choose to visit the Mariinsky Theatre. St Petersburg Christmas celebration is incomplete without encouraging the festive spirits at a ballet. During December, Mariinsky always performs one of Tchaikovsky’s important Christmas masterpieces like “The Nutcracker or Swan Lake.”
10. Other Things To Do
Some other things to do in Saint Petersburg in Russia during Christmas include the following:
- The visitors can go for ice skating and experience the joy of skating at the New Holland Island. It is near to St Isaac’s Cathedral
- Buy a pot of red caviar it is much cheaper over here from Eliseevy and takes it to your home.
- Do eat the delicious cake that is prepared by the locals with honey and cream as the key ingredients.
- Visit the Vodka Museum in order to discover the Russian history.
- Taste the warming dishes of Russia like pelmeni, meat-filled dumplings, which are served with sour cream looks similar to tortellini.
- Christmas in Russia is a family celebration with full of religious traditions.
Further Read: Russian Museums: For A Tour Down The Country’s Expansive And Profound Culture!
Russians follow strict religious tradition during Christmas. Christmas in Saint Petersburg is mostly celebrated with family, friends, and relatives in Russian and across the world. If the weather is covered with snow then people begin their party with ice-skating or snowball fighting at the parks. The party is full of delicious dishes, hot drinks, cakes, singing and games which seem to be incomplete without them. People greet one another with S Rozhdestvom which means Merry Christmas. Plan a trip to Russia and enjoy joyous Christmas celebrations in St. Petersburg.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Christmas In Saint Petersburg
A. There are numerous interesting things to do in St Petersburg in December. The following are the most popular ones:
1. Visiting Winter Palace
2. Relaxing at the delta of the Neva River
3. Spending illuminating hours at Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
4. Going for sightseeing
A. Yes, St. Petersburg is safe for visitors during day as well as night.
A. No, the city is not much expensive and offers pocket-friendly alternatives for food, stays, shopping, etc.
A. One must wear warm and waterproof woollen clothes to avoid cold during December in St. Petersburg.
A. Tsentralny District, Admiralteyskiy District, Moskovskiy District, Primorsky District, etc. are the best areas to stay in St Petersburg Russia.
A. Russian is the official language of St. Petersburg, however, english language is widely spoken throughout the country.
A. Both the cities are known for their exclusive experiences, however, St Petersburg is quite cheaper than Moscow.
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