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Christmas Around the World: A Look at 6 Countries' Traditions — From Festivities to Secrecy

4. Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin (5th L) and believers attend the Orthodox Christmas service at a local church in the settlement of Turginovo in Tver region, Russia, January 7, 2016. Most Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar on January 7, two weeks after most western Christian churches that abide by the Gregorian calendar. |

In accordance with the Julian calendar, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7. While the religious holiday is not as popular as New Year's Eve celebrations, it is growing in a country where it was banned for most of the 20th century due to Communism.

Two important meals are observed by practicing Orthodox Christians, one on Christmas Eve, which consists of 12 meatless dishes, representing the 12 apostles.

"Kutya is a concoction of grains and poppy seeds sweetened with honey, which serves as one of the main dishes of the Christmas feast. Vegetarian-style borsch or solyanka, a salty stew, may also be served along with salads, sauerkraut, dried fruit, potatoes, and beans," Tripsavvy.com explains.

Midnight mass at Christmas Eve is attended by prominent figures, including President Vladimir Putin in recent years.

Meat is allowed to be consumed during the big Christmas Day celebrations, including side dishes such as aspic, stuffed pies, and various deserts.

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