new year gifts
New Year’s is the biggest celebration of the year sacred to every Russian. No other holiday in the calendar is celebrated with such enthusiasm and there’s number of traditions and rituals associated with it.
Those who like to postpone everything until the last moment have their last chance now to finish decorating Christmas tree. Since New Year’s in Russia occurs earlier than Christmas (which is celebrated on January 7), people exchange gifts on December, 31. Unlike many western countries where gifts are put in stockings that hang from the fireplace gifts in Russia are usually placed under the Christmas tree. That’s why the next important step is to hide beautifully decorated New Year’s gifts meant for friends and family members under the tree and start the countdown to midnight.
1 p.m. – COOKING MARATHON BEGINS
Russian New Year’s just isn’t New Year’s without the salads. We’re not taking about light green salads either, but mayonnaise-infused and protein-thick works of art created by each hostess with their own touch. There are plenty of salads that can be found on the holiday table but only few are served in each family without exceptions. One of the most popular is Olivier salad made with potatoes, carrots, pickles, green peas, eggs, chicken or bologna all bound in mayonnaise. New Year’s literally doesn’t exist if this salad is not on the table. Selyodka pod Shuboi, or “Herring under a Fur Coat” is another not so simple must have. This layered carnival filled with herring, potatoes, carrots, beets, onions and mayonnaise has a festive purplish color which usually makes it a centerpiece on the holiday table. Caviar, mandarin oranges and champagne are also a necessity on New Year’s Eve. Russians even give them as gifts to the hosts and present to co-workers and friends.
7 p.m. – GREET YOUR GUESTS
New Year’s is without a doubt the most family-oriented holiday in Russia. Everyone gathers around the festive table, and many people make special trips from other regions in order to celebrate with their families. Close friends and even neighbors are also welcome but usually after midnight.
8 p.m. – TIME TO DRESS UP
Russians have their own Santa Claus called Grandfather Frost. He comes to children on New Year’s Even with his young granddaughter Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden). In exchange for gifts and sweets, children have to stand on a chair and recite a short poem. Usually parents dress up themselves, ask friends or neighbors or even hire professional actors who visit their kids to perform some amusing scenes and give gifts for New Year’s to Russia.
9 p.m. – TURN ON YOUR TV
New Year’s celebration can’t be considered complete without special holiday TV programs and movies. All channels start featuring entertaining shows early on December, 31 and finish only several days after. One of the most iconic Russian movies always shown on New Year’s Eve is “The Irony of Fate,” the story of an ordinary Soviet guy, who after a drinking binge at the sauna with friends, accidentally flies from Moscow to St. Petersburg, mistakenly breaks into a home that has the same address as his Moscow one, and finds the love of his life.
11:50 p.m. – MIDNIGHT DATE WITH MR. PRESIDENT
Regardless of their political affiliations, right before midnight Russians around the world tune in to hear the Russian president wishing everyone happy New Year. Once he finishes, the clock tower on Red Square chimes, fireworks burst into the air and the New Year officially begins. While the bells are ringing for one minute, you need to crack open a champagne bottle, make a wish and clink glasses with your loved ones precisely when the clock strikes 12 if you want your wish come true.
1 a.m. – TIME TO GO OUT
Since New Year’s is a family holiday, Russians stay celebrating with their dear ones till around 1 a.m. and only after they go out to visit friends, set off fireworks and attend parties.
2 p.m., January 1 – WAKE UP AND CONTINUE THE FEAST
New Year’s Eve is just the beginning of the long winter holidays in Russia. On January, 1 nobody wakes up until at least 2 p.m. Plenty of leftovers from the night before will help you survive without cooking for another week or so. And the best part is of course to know that you don’t have to be back at work till January, 10 which makes it over a week to shake off the hangovers.
RussianFlora.com wishes you a Happy New year!
In the New Year,
we wish you the best year you’ve ever had,
and that each New Year
will be better than the last.
May you realize your fondest dreams
and take time to recognize and enjoy
each and every blessing.
Happy New Year,
And many more!
We’ve decided to help you and have made up a list where you can find how ‘Happy New Year!’ is said in the most popular languages.
If you also want to send a gift basket for New Year to your nearest and dearest to another country you can visit our website http://www.russianflora.com, where you can find plenty of holiday gift ideas.
Afghani – Saale Nao Mubbarak
Albanian – Gezuar Vitin e Ri
Armenian – Snorhavor Nor Tari
Arabic – Antum Salimoun
Chinese – Xin Nian Kuai Le
Croatian – Sretna Nova Godina
Czechoslovakia – Scastny Novy Rok
Danish – Godt Nytår
Dutch – Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Estonians – Head uut aastat
Finnish – Onnellista Uutta Vuotta
French – Bonne Annee
German – Prosit Neujahr
Greek – Kenourios Chronos
Hebrew – L’Shannah Tovah
Hindi – Naye Varsha Ki Shubhkamanyen
Hungarian – Boldog Ooy Ayvet
Iranian – Saleh now mobarak
Iraqi – Sanah Jadidah
Italian – Felice anno nuovo
Japanese – Akimashite Omedetto Gozaimasu
Korea – Saehae Bock Mani ba deu sei yo
Lithuanian – Laimingu Naujuju Metu
Norwegian – Godt Nyttår
Polish – Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
Romanian – An nou fericit
Russian – S Novim Godom
Spanish – Feliz Ano Nuevo
Turkish – Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian – Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku
Vietnamese – Chuc Mung Tan Nien
If you are sending gifts to Russia or flowers to Russia this holiday season, then there are certain customs you should know before you arrange a delivery. Most notably, much of the nation celebrates the winter holidays in January. While most Americans celebrate Christmas at the end of December, many Russians observe Russian Christmas on January 7th, and practically every Russian celebrates the New Year in grand style.
Because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar to determine religious holidays, some Russians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. December 25th celebrations are commonly referred to the Catholic Christmas holiday (even though many protestants celebrate on this day as well). Knowing which time period your recipient celebrates can help you time your gift delivery to Russia correctly. However, a time of universal celebration is New Year. It is actually the more widely and extravagantly celebrated holiday. Therefore, a great alternative to sending a Christmas gift to Russia is to send a general holiday gift or a “New Year gift” that can be used to celebrate the New Year.
When Russia was a part of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not widely or openly celebrated. As a result, New Years celebrations became much larger and came to include gift exchanges and New Years trees. However, after the fall of Soviet Union, Christmas began to be openly celebrated again. Even today many Russians refer to their trees as New Years trees and their gifts as New Years gifts.
On Christmas the family gathers around the table to honor the coming Christ Child. A white tablecloth is used to symbolize Christ’s swaddling clothes and hay is displayed as a reminder of the poverty of the place where Jesus was born. A tall white candle is placed in the center of the Table, to symbolize Christ – the “Light of the World.” A large round loaf of “pagach”, a special Lenten bread, is placed beside the candle to symbolize Christ – the “Bread of Life”.
The father begins the Christmas meal by leading the family in the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year and for the good things to come in the new year. The head of the family greets those present with “Christ is Born!” – the traditional Russian Christmas greeting – and the family responds with “Glorify Him!” The Lenten bread (Pagach) is then broken and shared. The bread is dipped first in honey to symbolize the sweetness of life and then in chopped garlic to symbolize life’s bitterness. The “Holy Supper” is then eaten. Traditionally, it consists of 12 different foods, symbolic of the 12 Apostles. After dinner the family goes to church for the Christmas Mass which lasts until after midnight.
Both New Year and Orthodox Russian Christmas involve feasting and presents exchanges between friends and family members. New Years is generally a bit grander holiday celebration with more focus on drinking and large gatherings. For this reason, food and spirits make great gifts for the holiday season—favorites include chocolates, cakes, cookies, roasted nuts, fruit, wine, cheese, caviar, Champagne, spirits, and a variety of other gourmet treats. For many people, the holidays are a time to indulge in rich or expensive foods and drinks that they normally do not consume.
With all this in mind, sending a gift basket to Russia or sending flowers to Russia is a great way to celebrate the holidays, even when you cannot be with your loved ones. Many business owners also take advantage of corporate gift baskets for the business associates during the holiday season.
RussianFlora.com is a great resource for gift and flower delivery to Russia. Their 2008 Christmas/New Years catalog is filled with gift ideas that are ideal for friends, family or clients. If you want to send food, they have the VIP Tray, which includes a variety of imported cheeses, fruits, roasted nuts, and tons of other gourmet goodies. To celebrate the festive New Year, they have their Holiday Champagne and Chocolates Tray, which includes two bottles of bubbly and three boxes of assorted chocolates. Or if you’d rather send a Christmas-themed gift, try their charming Mini Christmas Tree potted plant, or the Santa Gift Bag, which is a stocking stuffed with tons of goodies for children.
The online gift and flower delivery company is offering a special promotion just for the holiday season: order before December 14th and receive 10% off of any order over $99 USD. Whether you are looking for that perfect Christmas gift or a New Years delivery, planning your holiday gift-giving to Russia should be a snap this year!
About Russian Flora:
Russian Flora specializes in high-quality, affordable gift and flower delivery to Russia , CIS and Eastern Europe. The company works directly with established, local Russian florists to offer deliveries within 24-48 hours of submitted orders. After the founder and owner David Skol experienced firsthand that many of the existing delivery services to Russia provided either low-quality or over-priced flowers and gifts, he decided to provide a U.S.-based service that would provide the type of service he believed was lacking. Learn more at www.RussianFlora.com.
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 snowgirl). 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’s 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 activity.
Read about Christmas in Russia in the next issue.