Russia's New Year, a time for families, friends, and loved ones to gather together. But what do you know about New Year in Russia? How do the locals celebrate this special day? What are their festivities? And what words and greetings in Russian should you use? This guide will answer all those questions and more.
Russia is a country that still maintains many of its old traditions. The most significant ritual held by Russians is New Year's Eve. Russian Christmas is less popular than New Year's holidays when it comes to importance. The entire nation will show its best during the night-long festivities before the year has been said farewell and ushered in a new one. So, what do you need to know about its traditions if you plan to visit Russia for New Year's holidays?
Keep reading to find out!
With a rich history, Russia has the largest number of celebrations. Every year, people across the country celebrate different holidays and rituals.
Russian New Year(Новый год) is the countries official holiday and one of the most important ones. It marks the beginning of a calendar year and celebrates that change in fortune that people hope for during this time of year. In fact, it is so important that Russian people celebrate two New Year's holidays: the "Old New Year's celebration" on January 14th according to the Orthodox calendar (or the Julian calendar) and the "New" one, on December 31st, according to the Catholic (Gregorian) calendar.
The Russian customs are very rich in traditions and celebrations for Christmas and New Year's Eve. From the beginning of December until January 13th, they have a long period of celebratory traditions connected to Christmas, which falls on January 7th.
Many Russian people believe that "The way they meet the New Year is the way they will spend the rest of it," so to start a new prosperous year, they must begin with a clean slate. Therefore, the people who live in Russia are getting ready for the New Year by cleaning up their homes. This is because they believe that this will get rid of any bad luck that may have accumulated over the year.
Another thing that's considered a bad omen is sleeping through New Year's eve. It is said that the tradition of staying awake started during the time when Tsar Nicholai II wanted to change the Russian calendar from Julian to Gregorian calendar. People who did not want this to happen protested by staying up all night, which eventually became a custom.
The Russian National Anthem begins playing at midnight, and that's when the celebration officially begins.
And guess what? Russians have their own Santa Claus! Since New Year is celebrated before Christmas, people exchange gifts on December 31st, and Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) is the one who delivers. Ded Moroz has a granddaughter, and he lives in Veliky Ustyug, not on the North Pole, unlike his western counterpart.
Every year, he carries a large sack of gifts carried by his horses at the wind speed on his open sleigh.
The Russian Christmas tree is called yolka, and it's usually decorated in advance, up to 3 weeks before the actual holiday. That is almost as long as the Philippines' Christmas celebrations, don't you think?
A traditional Russian New Year's feast is hearty and filling, consisting of delicious dishes. The Olivier salad is a classic Russian New Year food and is widely enjoyed for the holidays.
This is a cold, traditional Russian salad that consists of chopped cucumbers, boiled eggs, potatoes, chopped Russian sausages, and mayonnaise. It has the perfect balance of sweet and salty, so it's sure to please everyone at every dinner party.
Russians love their salads, and another famous salad is called Shuba. It's an unexpected combination of red beats, herring, and mayo. Visually, this salad resembles a cake.
Apart from the famous salads, red and black caviare are popular appetizers usually served with bread, butter, and lettuce.
Tangerines are pretty standard and have been officially included in the New Year's dinner selection since Soviet times. At midnight, Russian people drink champagne (sparkling wine) or vodka. Of course, no Russian celebration is complete without vodka!
We've mentioned sweeping away the bad luck at the beginning of the article, but did you know that wearing the wrong clothes can make your whole next year go down the hill? Next, we will explore some common New Year's superstitions, so hop on the train. And worry not - when the clock strikes midnight, your carriage won't turn into a pumpkin (unless you ask for it).
To add a hint of mystery to this already magical holiday, Russians believe that New Year's Eve determines the course of your whole upcoming year, so you need to choose wisely how you behave, with whom do you celebrate, and what you're going to do unless you want to turn your life into a series of unfortunate events for 365 days. But, no pressure.
It is absolutely essential to buy new clothes for a fresh start and have an argument-free night. Additionally, many Russian people say they need to stand in the same spot while drinking champagne until midnight strikes. They should drink it without spilling a single drop, or else something terrible will happen to them or their family.
And last but not least, some say that you should take off your shoes before midnight and step on them to avoid any trouble in the New Year!
Learning about Russian traditions and customs has been fun, but now we've got to learn. So check out the table below for the most common words and expressions related to New Year's Eve you'll need to know if you plan on spending the holidays in Russia.
|Happy New Year||С новым годом|
|New Year||Новый год|
|Julian calendar||Юлианский календарь|
|Gregorian calendar||Григорианский календарь|
|New Year's Eve||Канун Нового года|
|Christmas tree||Рождественская елка|
|Grandfather Frost||Дед Мороз|
|national anthem||государственный гимн|
|orthodox church||Православная Церковь|
|Olivier salad||Салат оливье|
|sparkling wine||игристое вино|
|traditional holiday||традиционный праздник|
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More content on our Russian blog is on the way, so feel free to check it out if you want to learn more!
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