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Regular version of the site

Culture Cafe: New Year, 2019

Have you decorated your room? Have you bought tangerines? Have you prepared presents for your friends and relatives? Hurry up, New Year is coming! That is why we devoted our last of this year Culture Café to the Russian New Year! We wanted to share with you the most significant and important points of traditional celebration, unusual and distinctive features. Moscow winter doesn’t look like real Russian one, so don’t miss opportunity to catch the New Year mood, even without snow, but with our nice and cozy meeting and amazing New Year playlist! Stay tuned to refresh everything we had on the last study Wednesday of this semester.

Let’s start with the history. As you know, New Year’s Day is a national holiday celebrated on the night from December 31st to January 1st, but it wasn’t like this all the time, starting from the origins. Only in the 18th century, Peter the Great moved the celebration of the New Year from September to more familiar to us December. During the days of the USSR, the New Year was generally boycotted. Nowadays, we are happy to celebrate this holiday in the end of December and have some days to rest after exams and all kinds of things.

Now let’s move deeper in traditions. In the kindergarten and school every New Year, as we call, morning performance is held. Kids wear different costumes, usually these are characters from Russian fairytales, in particular various animals like fox, wolf or rabbit etc.

Dressed up? Then you are ready to meet the main guest of the celebration - Ded Moroz, we also tenderly call him Dedushka Moroz. He is very powerful magician, can give you presents of your dreams for good behaviour for the whole year, or can freeze you if you weren’t good kid this year. Dedushka has an assistant, his granddaughter Snegurochka. She is very kind and sincere, helps her grandfather make kids happier. Ded Moroz lives in Veliky Ustyug, he drives in a sledge with three white horses to reach his destinations, he can travel alone or with his granddaughter. They often come together to the morning performances or to the houses. You need to read Dedushka short poem to get your presents. There are two options how you can do it: sit on his knees or stand on the chair and read poem!

New Year’s preparations start long before New Year’s Day, it’s not special, it’s common practice in the world. We need to put New Year’s tree and decorate it, choose dishes to cook etc. But, of course, we have our Russian specific traditions. The one of the most important is Olivie salad, or Winter salad. Its recipe is pretty simple and really loved by many Russians. Certainly, we can’t imagine our New Year without tangerines, it’s symbol of the New Year, its smell reminds us about holidays.

While cooking, we always watch TV. Time before the New Year is time for old Soviet films, like «Carnival night» with popular song «5 minutes», very funny and kind «Ivan Vasilievich changes profession» and «The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your bath!». This is not the full list, there are more, and all of them became an integral part of our New Year! Besides classical films, we can watch special TV programme «Little blue light», it has quite long history and also became the symbol of the New Year’s celebration.

Last minutes of the year, we spend with our president Vladimir Putin, he gives festive speech about the past year, about ups and downs, wishes all the good for the next year and finishes with the phrase «S Novim Godom!», which means Happy New Year!

Thank you for being with us this semester, time flies and we haven’t noticed how New Year’s started to knock in the door! We wish you the best in the 2020 year, welcome it with pleasure and be happy the whole time! Spend this time with your close ones, have amazing holidays and get ready for the next semester. We can’t wait to see you in the New Year and continue our spectacular journeys! Happy New Year!!!

 Text: Svetlana Dzhafarova