Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Year’s Eve In Russia? We Think So

New Year’s Eve is always a popular destination, with the celebration of a new year, comes new possibilities, new adventures, and new experiences. One destination that you may have never considered to spend New Year’s in is Russia. We are here to tell you, that for a New Year’s destination, it can be hard to beat. In Russia, the New Year holiday trumps even Christmas in importance, major celebrations take place all over the country in recognition of the day. They love it so much, they also celebrate a second New Year, the Old New Year, which takes place after the regular New Year more universally observed.

Russia’s “New” New Year occurs like everywhere else, on the eve of December 31st and into January 1st. Fireworks and concerts mark this holiday. It is on this day that the Russian Santa, or Ded Moroz, and his companion Sengurochka visit children to pass out gifts. What those in the west call a Christmas Tree is considered a New year’s Tree in Russia. Because the first Russian New Year precedes Christmas in Russia on January 7, this tree is left up in honor of both holidays. This New Year is considered the “New” New Year because it began to be recognized after Russia made the switch from the Julian calendar (still recognized by the Orthodox Church) to the Gregorian calendar followed by the West. 

The Russians also celebrate the old New Year, which falls on January 14th according to the old Orthodox calendar. This “Old New Year” is spend with family and is generally quieter than the New Year celebrated on January 1st. Folk traditions, like the singing of carols and the telling of fortunes, may ne observed during Russia’s Old New Year, and a large meal shared with family will typically be served.

The celebration of the actual New Year that the rest of the world celebrates should be spent in Moscow. There you can head to the Red Square to experience the most popular public New Year celebrations, but you can just as easily avoid the crush of people drinking Russian vodka, a must on the New Year, and champagne to watch the fireworks display from another vantage point in the city. The mood all over the city is joyous and festive, plus the celebrations among the traditional architecture give the city an interesting mixture of old and new together. All in all, if you are looking for an adventure, spend your New Years in Russia, and if you stay long enough, you might even be able to spend two New Years there!

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