Presents on New Year’s Eve

Basilius Cathedral Moscow

On the 24th of December, while we’re feasting and giving each other presents in Germany, Russia is still ruled by a strict forty day fasting period – at least for the orthodox Christians. During this period of fasting, the consumption of animal products is forbidden. Even on “Sochelnik”, the Holy Night, nothing is eaten until the stars first shine. This is celebrated on the 6th of January. The most important event of the day is an hour-long mass with a lot of singing and beautifully illuminated processions in the late evening.

On the 7th of January, the fasting is finally over. In the morning, the Russians go to church again for early mass, and afterwards it’s time for a cosy get-together with the family. The table is neatly covered with the finest dishes. Favourites are dishes such as jellied fish, blini and pierogi. The reason why Russian Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas later is that they celebrate their holidays according to the old Julian calendar, which deviates from the Gregorian calendar by thirteen days.

Father Frost

Presents in Russia are opened on the 31st of December. They are brought on New Year’s Eve by “Ded Moroz” (Father Frost), who comes riding on a sleigh with his granddaughter “Snegurochka” (The Snow Maiden). The man with the long white beard is a much-beloved Russian fairy-tale character. Once a wizard, he still controls his magical power today. It’s how he can use his sceptre to freeze anything to ice. By the way, only once the children have recited a poem or sung a song are the gifts handed out. The so-called New Year’s Days run from New Year’s Eve until the 8th of January – a work-free period for Russia.

Christmas Market on the Red Square in Moscow

St. Petersburg is always worth a trip, yet in Christmastime the city is especially beautiful, shining with its golden domes and palaces. In the white of winter, Aeroflot offers a direct connection from Schönefeld to the old city of Tsars. In the capital city of Moscow, the Christmas festivities continue until the middle of January. The city is beautifully decorated. Aeroflot flies from Schönefeld to Moscow, and S7 Airlines, Miat Mongolian Airlines, Pobeda and UTair all take off from Tegel.

Airport Info

+49 30 609160910


Our airport information staff can be reached 24/7.