Russia has deep snow and cold weather, which for many people is traditional for Christmas. In old Russia, Russian Orthodox religious beliefs were often mixed with European customs and folk traditions. Russian people fasted to prepare for the occasion. They ate foods that symbolized different parts of the Christmas story. Straw or wheat covered the dinner table to remember Christ's birth in a stable. On Christmas Eve, Russians ate kutya, a porridge made from wheat berries, honey, poppy seeds, and raisins.