People in Russia celebrate Christmas on the 7th January according to the Orthodox Church calendar. However, those who travel to Moscow in December still can celebrate European Christmas. In the middle of December, the streets and squares get their festive decoration, the foreign communities organize the Christmas bazaars and concerts, creating the spirit of festivity for the time between two Christmases.
An annual musical event, International Christmas Festival, joins together Christmas traditions of different countries. It takes place in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary in Malaya Gruzinskaya Street. Musicians from different continents and countries – Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Estonia, Mexica, Ecuador, play Christmas melodies from various cultures and times. Mexican rhythms and Baroque music, jazz and folk songs, eternal classics and songs from modern TV shows create the spirit of Christmas. Concerts are held in other cities of Russia as well. Traditional Christmas concerts are organized every year in other non-Orthodox churches in Moscow.
There are four beautiful old cathedrals in Moscow, which belong to different confessions and are specially decorated for the Christmas with Cozy Christmas crèches and sparkling Christmas trees. To feel the spirit of festivity, you can attend a Christmas church service. In the Peter and Paul Evangelical-Lutheran Cathedral, in the Church of St. Louis of the French, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary and in St. Andrew’s Church, the services are in different languages, including English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
GUM is a big store in the very centre of Moscow near the Red Square. The tradition to hold the exhibition of Christmas trees in GUM has been existing for more than ten years. Over 100 world-famous brands are presented in GUM. Every December, each store decorates a tree using its brand colours and toys presenting the brand. Trees are decorated with flowers or butterflies, pillows or white collars, clothes and watches, frogs and flamingos. So, you won’t find two similar trees here. And it is not an easy task to choose the best one.
To celebrate European Christmas in Moscow, participate in one of the charitable Christmas bazaars organized by foreign embassies or cultural centres. French, German, Italian bazars became traditional and very popular. At these bazaars, the visitors can buy not only souvenirs but often sweets and biscuits cooked by the embassy employees. Concerts, lectures and workshops are included in the programme as well. Christmas is the time for charity, and proceeds from the sale are used for charity.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.