New Year Holidays in Russia last for over a week, beginning on New Year’s Eve and spanning up to Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. It is a beautiful time of festivity and celebrations in Russia.
On New Year’s Eve, families gather together for a festive dinner as they await the stroke of midnight. Traditional meals always include fish in jelly, Russian salads, herrings and sparkling wine. When the Kremlin clock strikes 12, fireworks explode in the sky, and everyone toasts for the happy new year ahead.
Everyone congratulates each other and exchanges gifts which had been previously left under a New Year Tree by Grandfather Frost, Ded Moroz (Russian Santa Claus). He often makes an appearance on New Year’s Day, along with Snow Girl, Snegurochka, his granddaughter. Many families go outside to lit fireworks and crackers, ride slides, build snowmen and cheer with neighbours.
On January 7th it is Russian Christmas which people celebrate by festive dinner and attending a mess in a church.
It is followed by yet another important holiday with a rather contradictory name - the Old New Year on January 14th. It is the date when the New Year was celebrated before the calendar was changed from the Julian to Gregorian calendar in 1918. Despite the introduction of a “new New Year,” the Old New Year has never been let go and it marks the end to the week of festive celebrations.
- Attend the celebration in Red Square in Moscow, or watch it on TV to enjoy the elaborate fireworks, enjoy concerts and festive pop-ups nearby
- Enjoy a Russian New Year festive dinner with Russian salad, red caviar, herrings and vodka as a must
- Visit the magnificent GUM Department and TSUM Department Stores in Red Square and have a walk along Arbat Street in Moscow’s historic centre - the street is best place to buy souvenirs