New Year in Russia is considered to be the main holiday of the year. It is very fun, the most sincere, desired and the most magic indeed!!
Some Facts from the History of New Year Celebrations
Russia, like all European countries, started to celebrate the New Year holiday on 1st January only since 1700 by order Peter I. Before 1700 the beginning of the year was celebratedon the 1st of September but even much earlier, it was celebrated on the 1st of March as the beginning of spring.
By the way, in the Year of Redemption 1700 in Russia people lived in… 7208 B.C.
“Old New Year”, or Celebration of Two New Years
It is interesting that before 1918, Russia lived with the Julian calendar. When people in Russia started to use the Gregorian calendar it was added 13 days to that, thus Russians have two New Years, so to say: celebrated by the Julian Calendar (on the 14th January) and by the Gregorian Calendar as well.
However, the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar. Therefore, Christmas in Russia is on January 7 (the Gregorian calendar), it corresponds to December 25 (the Julian calendar).
New Year Celebration in the USSR
The new Soviet government in 1919 abolished New Year celebration.
From 1930 to 1947 January 1 was just a working day. Only in 1947 January 1 became a day-off.
In the 60-es of the XX century in the USSR lots of Christmas trees and various Christmas decorations started to be being produced a lot.
In those soviet years, New Yearcelebration traditionsappeared in Russia: people gathered at the festive tablewith their relatives and friends. Then all the guests were dancing, having fun, walking for a walk, skating, playing snowballs etc. Peopleusually wenthome early in the morning.
In the living room, where soviet people usually gathered for New Year dinner, there was a Xmas tree there. It was decorated with toys and tinsel garlands. Christmas trees were also decorated with sweets, nuts and tangerines, wrapped in foil, as well as homemade toys from foil and colored paper. Then in the course of time, sweets and fruits with other gifts were being put under the Xmas tree. Adults told children that all the giftswere brought by fantastic Father Christmas. Since that soviet time most Russians associate pleasant smell of tangerines with the beginning of New Year.
Sometimes for New Year parties actors in costumes of Santa Claus and Snegurochka (Santa Claus’ granddaughter and his helper) were being invited. Sometimes some of the guestsarrayed themselves as Santa Claus and Snegurochka trying to escape detection. Theadults told children that Santa Claus would freeze themif they misbehaved.
Before midnight soviet people were making speeches and toasts for the past year, and recollected all the positive moments.
And after midnight –they wished much good luck to everybody in the new year.
In the soviet era when the Kremlin chimes were striking twelve, sparklers were being lit.
Since the soviet era “Olivier” salad is a traditional salad dish in Russia for New Year parties (every housewifehadher own recipe then) and “Soviet champagne”. “Soviet champagne” is a brand of sparkling wine produced in the Soviet Union. This wine has nothing to sparkling wines produced in the champagne region. But lots of wines produced in the champagne region were supplied into tsarist Russia. “Soviet champagne” bottle cap Salute was typical of any New Year party in the Soviet Union.
New Year Celebration in Russia at Present
Usually Russians have long new year holidays, and Russian people go abroad or tour through a country, combining trips through Russia with meetings with friends and relatives.
Russians can also visit different clubs and restaurants.
But most of people, according to the soviet tradition,celebrate the holiday at home with their families.
A lot of special food is being cooked for this winter holiday: “Olivier” salad, red caviar and red fish, potatoes, meat and poultry, pickles and many various starters. And, of course, “Champagn” – Russian sparkling wine.
There are a lot of New Year contests, dancing, TV watching – everything like many years ago.
In Russia there is a new trend – lots of pyrotechnics and fireworks – though they are banned.
It is interesting, some Russians celebrate the New Year as much as nine times, as in Russia there are nine time zones.
Happy New Year!
To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev