Christmas in Russia and Belgium
Traveling implies visiting new destinations, trying exotic food, meeting new people and participating in new traditions. Some of these may seem a bit extreme, but the truth is that they’re simply different from the ones each of us have adopted. Among some of the most thrilling we can mention: Russian boxing matches and ice-skating in Belgium.
Christmas in Russia
Russia celebrates the Orthodox Christmas and one of its characteristics is that this version of the catholic religion believes Christ was born in January and not in December. This difference in dates lies in the fact that the Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar, which was created in Roman times, instead of the Gregorian calendar that was worldly adopted several centuries later.
As part of the celebrations, people go out to the streets to have fun with boxing matches, that is, public punching fights dedicated to the celebration of Christ’s birth. These fights have been a tradition from the Urals lands for years, but somehow they’ve become part of the Orthodox Christmas celebration.
Curiously, this activity is not limited to urban areas. In rural Russia peasants also participate in group and individual combats that involve different tests that require skill, strength and agility. They include balance, speed and physical power contests. Therefore, if you travel to Russia this December, DINKtravelers recommends training ahead or even packing your boxing gloves!
Also in relation with adrenaline-full Christmas activities, let’s not forget ice-skating, one of the most popular sports of the season.
Christmas in Belgium
In Belgium, Christmas is celebrated twice. On December 6th, Saint Nicholas brings gifts to the children, and on the 25th, they commemorate Christ’s birth. It’s on this second celebration that families gather to enjoy a banquet that includes typical dishes like turkey with filling and desserts like the Kerststronk, also known as la buche de Noël. After dinner, families go out to ice-skate on the frozen waters of the Belgian rivers and lakes.
Imagine yourself speeding across Brussels while watching the tinkling lights of the decorations, and passing by snow-covered streets and carrousels that play Christmas carols, all the while feeling the cold wind caressing your face.
For Belgians, ice-skating is as easy as walking, but if you’re not an expert in this sport, we’re sure you’ll enjoy a great adrenaline-inducing experience.
All in all, between boxing and ice-skating at least you’ll burn some calories from the Christmas dinner and that’s great because on the 26th, prepare to enjoy a delicious and traditional Belgian sweet bread known as cougnolle.
Enjoy you trip and celebrate the DINKtravelers way.