Goa wakes up to celebrate Christmas again - the Russian way

Paji, Jan 7: Seven days into the new year, Goans woke up on Thursday to feel it’s Christmas once again. This time it’s about traditiol Russian Christmas, celebrated 13 days after December 25 when it is observed in the rest of the world. This is because the Russian Orthodox Church observes the Julian calendar. Over the last few years, the increased influx of Russian tourists in Goa has started a trickle of interest about the belated (for the followers of the Gregorian calendar) Russian Christmas. For tourists like Sergei Levchenko, holidaying in Goa for the first time, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the festival and obviously miss home a bit. “I generally do not miss a Christmas at home. But my holiday was scheduled suddenly. It is strange to know that people here do know about Russian Christmas,” Levchenko, who hails from Moscow and is here on a winter break, told IANS. According to Victor Albuquerque, the honorary Russian consul for Goa, Russians account for nearly 60 percent of the inbound foreign tourists, which in turn has resulted in a lot of tourism industry stakeholders tweaking their hospitality methods to suit Russian needs.

“Russians account for at least 50 percent of the entire tourists that are arriving in Goa,” Albuquerque said. Traditiolly, celebration of Russian Christmas mirrors with the practices of rest of the Christian world, with families attending a midnight mass, followed by a feast at home, which includes traditiolly cooked meat and sweets. Park Hyatt Goa, in Arossim in South Goa, which has been organising a Russian Christmas every year has a celebration lined up this time, replete with music, food and decor, all set to Russian tastes. (ians)

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