Despite different cities and distances, the traditions remain unchanged. The streets are decorated with festive lights, toys, posters, flags, garlands and a Christmas tree is placed on the main square in the centre of every city. Everyone gets ready for the celebration, and there is a festive atmosphere all around. Children sing the song “The Forest Raised a Christmas Tree” (‘V lesu rodilas yolochka’), while adults watch films such as “Irony of Fate or Enjoy Your Bath” (‘Ironiya sudby ili s legkim parom’).
There are many popular Russian New Year traditions and among them the most famous custom is associated with the New Year tree. This tree is called ‘Novogodnaya Yolochka’ which is adorned with different sweets, decorated with toys and garlands and on the top is a big bright star. Homes are decorated with such fir trees from December and kept until January 14th.
Under the Novogodnaya Yolochka, children will find the presents that Grandfather Frost has prepared for them. Grandfather Frost is also known as Ded Moroz and he is accompanied by a fairy who is his granddaughter, Snegurochka (Snow Maiden). She helps Grandfather Frost in distributing the sweets and toys to the kids. Grand father frost somewhat resembles Santa Claus, with a big tummy and white beard. He carries a big bag of toys and distributes it to all the children on the New Year’s eve. This is one of the beliefs in Russia. The only difference is that Santa wears red and Grandfather Frost wears blue.
In Russia, it is customary to celebrate the New Year with family or friends, who gather on the evening of December 31st to see off the Old Year and to meet the New Year. And they do not just get together, but sit at a table set with all sorts of festive dishes. Traditional dishes include “Olivie” salads and “herring under a fur coat.” And the most “New Year” fruit? Tangerines! At 23.55 on several TV channels the head of the country addresses the citizens with a speech, where he usually summarises the results of the year. And at 12 o’clock, under the sound of chiming bells, everyone raises their glasses with champagne and makes a wish.
We believe that any wish made on this Eva will surely be fulfilled. You should wait for the clock to strike 12, then write your desires on a paper and burn it on a candle, then mix this ash with the champagne in your glass and drink it. Massive fireworks are launched all around and people congratulate each other. Many people go out and fire a salute, while others sing songs and dance around the Novogodnaya Yolka. Anyone who sleeps the New Year will be sluggish and sleepy in the coming year, and for this reason people have fun until the next morning.
We have the phrase: “ The fulfilment of the upcoming year depends on how you spend your New Year’s Eve”. A good start to the year makes the whole year good, so we wish you a Happy New Year!