New Year in Russia is celebrated on January 1, the first day of the Gregorian Calendar, and it’s often more important than Christmas.
The most popular symbol of this holiday is a New Year’s Tree called Novogodnaya Yolka which is topped with a bright red star and decorated with various sweets. The most popularly celebrated New Year tradition is the arrival of Ded Moroz (Father Frost, Santa Claus) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (the snow girl). They bring New Year presents for the good children and hide them under the pine tree. To acquire gifts, children must sing a song or recite a poem.
New Year verve can be seen by the family get-together, use of fireworks, delicious meals etc. The most important part of the New Year activities is the sumptuous dinner with light music and champagne. The major meals include Olive salad with meat, potatoes , pickles, green peas, onion, carrots, and mayonnaise.
Russians also follow the tradition of listening to the New Year Speech from the President at 12 a.m. on 1 January. After that everybody says ‘S novym Godom!’ (Happy New Year), clink glasses with champagne, make a wish within the first few moments of the New Year and give each other presents.
There are some other fascinating traditions followed at the time of New Year and the famous one is the tradition of fortune telling. Many people especially women and unmarried girls are excited to know about their future indulge in this acitivity.
Read about Christmas in Russia in the next issue.