Echo of the antiquity, Slavonic roots of the Russians make themselves felt in the modern life. For many centuries the Russians continue celebrating pagan holidays, believing in various folk signs and traditions. For all that the modern culture of the Russians also kept later traditions and habits, which were conceived at the beginning of the 20th century.
Christianity presented the Russians such wonderful holidays as Easter and Christmas and heathenism – Pancake week. The present has kept some heathen customs, the most popular of them are kalyadovanie and wedding. During celebrating the Easter the Russians recollect about life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A day before the beginning of the Easter the Russians bake Easter cakes (sweet bread) and colour eggs (one of the popular way of colouring eggs is boiling them with onion skin), which symbolize the Christ’s body. These ceremonies are so spread, that even atheists don’t avoid them. In the morning after the night-services vigils (they last the whole day) and religious processions round the churches (they begin at 12 o’clock at night), people go to their parents and relations in order to present them an Easter cake and a coloured egg. The gifts are presented with the words: “Jesus raised from the dead!”, on which the recepient should answer: “Really raised from the dead!” and present either an Easter cake or a coloured egg in reply. This custom is called “Exchanging a triple kiss” (“christosovanie”). Egg, which is traditionally coloured in red and its tints, has become the obligatory attrubute and symbol of the Christian Easter since XII century. Besides painted natural eggs, people also prepared special eggs from precious metals, glass, crystal, china with painting. Karl Faberje succeeded in this trade. The Easter cake was always baked from yeast dough of round form, symbolizing Christ’s shroud, which by the legend have the same round form.
During meal the Easter cake is cut not lengthways but across, keeping the top intact for covering the rest part of a sweet dish by it.
Êalyadki are arranged during Christmas at night from January, 6 to January, 7. At this time people did not sleep, and went from house to house, sang kalyadki (ceremonial songs) for which visitors were treated to various dilicious things.. Now this custom is widespread only in the villages, but in days of old tsars and noblemen did not disdain to avail themselves of it, and for this purpose they usually dusguised themselves in carnival dresses. Poor men turned out the clothes inside out and put on masks of animals. Children liked to participate in kolyadki most of all because they were sure to be treated to sweets for their songs. The most favourite pagan holiday for Russians is the pancake week and New Year. During the first holiday people bake pancakes during the whole week. The tradition of burning a scarecrow of Shrovetide has been renewed now. This ceremony symbolizes the arrival of spring and farewell to winter. On New year the Russians decorate a fur-tree with New Year's toys, self-made toys enjoy wide popularity. At this night (from December, 31 till January, 1) families and companies gather together in another's apartments, drink much alcoholic drinks and think of many desires as there is a national sign: "Everything what you will think of on New Year's Eve should come true in the future". This day Russians remember another sign: "How you will spend New year so you will spend the next year". At night at 24 o'clock Russians usually clink glasses and drink a wine glass with champagne, and then - open gifts and dance.
Christening is the most ancient ceremony which concerns to the category of sacraments in Orthodox and Catholic churches. It means acceptance of a person in a bosom of Christian church. After the christening they say: "He's become the God's man", that is he has communicated with religion. In Orthodox church the baby is dipped into the water three times, in Catholic it is just poured by water. In Russia there is a tradition to invite relatives and the nearest friends to christening and set the celebratory table. Besides that in Russia godfather and godmother who further will be called "kum" and "kuma" and who are called upon to help the child in all his difficulties for the further life are chosen for christening. In due course this ceremony has not changed: people still enter the name in church where the priest says the pray, blesss water, dresses the baby in the christening shirt, entrusts the cross, worn next to the skin, makes sacraments of anointing and christenings. Weddings in Russia, by tradition continuing 2-3 days, are usually made in autumn or in winter, in intervals between the great posts. The most popular period for weddings in Russia began after Christmas and lasted up to the pancake week and called "svadebnik". Now spring and the end of summer or autumn has become more popular for newly-married couples. The ceremony of church wedding becomes more and more popular, but according to the law it is possible only after registration of marriage in the official body - registry office. Wedding is a very beautiful and touching ceremony when, standing under a wreath, young give an oath to be true in sorrow and pleasure. It is considered, that after it the spouses realize their belonging to each other more sharply and incline themselves for a long life together because divorces are forbidden by orthodox church . Before the registration the groom, arrived to take the bride in church, should redeem her from the guests, he also passes many trials, representing a number of competitions at the end of which by the tradition the groom should pay off with gifts or money with all participants. The rings, dress and shoes for the bride is traditionally bought by the groom, and the bride's family provide her with "trousseau" - bed-clothes, utensils and furniture. On the wedding table there should be the dishes from a bird, symbolizing the happy home family. The wedding pie in Russia is called "curnik". It is prepared from pancakes or short unleavened dough, interlaid with chicken meat, mushrooms, rice and other stuffings. When the newly-weds come to the groom's parents, his mother meets them, by the Russian tradition, with bread - salt. All guests watch who breaks off the greater piece of bread and who will be the head in the family. Modern wedding usually lasts 2-3 days. One of the elements of Russian life is going to the bath. Earlier the Russians did it every day because "baththerapy" helps in treatment catarrhal diseases, and also in taking down stress and mental frustration. Now this tradition has developed into the entertainment. Now people go to the bath once a week or month for communicating with friends, having beer. Some modern baths have cabins for one person, and also for the whole company. The main attributes of the Russian bath are steam, a birch or oak broom, fragrant tea with grasses, kvass or beer. Since the time of socialist regime the Russians has kept many old habits and customs. The most widespread are to give up one's plañe to old people and children in the public transport , to cook jam and preserve fruit and vegetables in summer, to go to the dacha where everything what is necessary for meal during the summer period of time is raised. The other tradition is to go on a visit and bring something "for tea", to visit close friends or native without notice. Among the most inveterate customs it is necessary to note flat residing: practically 60 % of Russians spend the whole life in one-, two or three-room apartments.
The western tradition to have the private house was spread in circles of only well provided Russians. Many Russians still "do not let their children go" to the adult life till they settle down to married life. And only after this many, already married, young men and girls start working to provide young family.
As a rule, in Russia women marry at the age of 18-23 years. The age of the stronger sex is the same. In Russia it is not accepted to buy all necessary for newborn beforehand as in most cases young spouses hope for gifts from relatives who defray all the necessary needs and expenses for the kid by their gifts. Another family custom is to give the born child to the grandmother - mother-in-law - for upbringing. And she nurses the grandson/granddaughter up to the moment when the child goes to school. As for relation between man and woman the representative of the stronger sex should not forget to offer his hand to the female companion when she gets out a tram, a trolley bus or a taxi. He also should remember that it is necessary to accompany a woman in the ladies' room, and then wait for her at this place. But the most important tradition in Russia, connected with relation between man and woman is that men always pay for women when they go to the restaurant, snackbar, theatre, cinema and other places. The Russians drink only hot tea, and they make it, as a rule, in the morning and at night. Besides that they do not admit obscene lexicon and prefer to read every possible literature in public transport when going from work or vice versa.