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Celebrating New Year’s with Your Russian Girlfriend

woman sitting at a dinner table
Create lasting memories by spending the New Year holiday with your Russian girlfriend.

It’s that time of the year again! With the winter holiday almost over, it’s time to celebrate the beginning of another year.

For many, this means traveling back home to their families and spending New Year’s indulging in lots of traditional activities - including food and drinks.

For others, they might prefer to spend it quietly in the comfort of their own homes, snuggling close to their partners. So if you already have a girlfriend, there’s a high possibility you have your own plans for New Year’s or plan to travel abroad.

In fact, every country celebrates New Year’s differently, and that includes Russia. If you happen to be dating a traditional Russian girlfriend, then this might be a good time to learn more about Russian New Year traditions.

An interesting fact about the Russian New Year is that the country celebrates it twice - together with the rest of the world on January 1st, and again on January 14th, according to the Orthodox calendar.

So Russian New Year is like a super holiday jam-packed with traditional celebrations, family reunions, and dinner tables laden with delicious food.

Here are a few things about the Russian New Year:

A Little Russian History

The New Year celebrations started in 1700, when the Tsar - Peter the Great - decided to adopt Christianity. He accepted the Gregorian calendar, marking January 1st the first official day of the year.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take because most Russians were used to celebrating Christmas and New Year’s using the Orthodox calendar.

It was also difficult to convince the people to use pine trees during the winter holiday, since pine trees were considered a sign of death in Russia. Many refused to bring pine trees into their homes for fear of bad luck.

Eventually, western influence seeped into Russia - mainly from Germany. With the support of the Russian Imperial family, the western holiday elements finally managed to convince the people to start practicing western Christmas and New Year traditions.

Then, in 1917, the Russian revolution took place. The Soviets tried to erase the winter holiday and replace it with something more appropriate. It didn’t catch on with the people. In 1928, they banned Christmas entirely and made December 25th a normal working day.

Around 1991, after the events of the post-Soviet rule, the newly established government decided to reinstate Christmas again. It is now celebrated by both religious and non-religious Russians.

Still, celebrating New Year’s on January 1st was more modest compared to the New Year’s celebration on January 14th.

New Year’s Traditions and Beliefs

In Russia, the New Year’s Eve celebration is a much larger event compared to Christmas or the Gregorian New Year. The holiday has become so ingrained in Russian society that it became a strong unifying symbol against external forces - mainly the Soviet party.

It’s also hard to deny that many Russians consider Christmas and the New Year to be their favorite holidays. Decorating the New Year tree, preparing the food, and gift-giving are just some of the traditions Russians practice during the special occasion.

Father Frost

Also called Ded Moroz, he symbolizes Russian winter, New Year’s, and presents. Usually accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka, known as the snow maiden, they ride a traditional troika (a sleigh drawn by three horses) and give gifts to children.

Back in 1917, during the Bolshevik Revolution, Ded Moroz was placed under exile because the Russian leaders were against any religious symbols. Only 20 years later, he returned and winter celebrations became public again.

Since then, Ded Moroz and his granddaughter have been closely tied to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. They are always seen handing out presents to children during this time of year.

New Year Food

Russian New Year wouldn’t be complete without eating delicious Russian New Year food. To celebrate the New Year in true traditional Russian style, some Russians prepare several snacks and dishes to munch on until evening.

Here are some of them:

Russians love to eat and sometimes will spare no expense when it comes to celebrating special holidays with the family. This includes preparing several bottles of champagne and vodka. So if you end up visiting Russia during the New Year’s, you’ve got to at least try them out.

Yolka

To the rest of the world, Christmas usually means putting up Christmas trees. But in Russia, a fir tree wrapped in bright colorful decorations and lights is called Yolka: the New Year tree.

It’s a classic Russian tradition for a family to decorate a fir tree during the special holiday and leave presents underneath the tree, ready to be opened during the eve of the celebration.

New Year’s Eve

Russian celebrations and traditions are still practiced today and a lot has changed during the last decade. Many Russians usually have their holidays off from the 30th of December until the 10th of January.

A typical New Year Russian celebration entails late family dinners, sparkling wine, and watching the fireworks at midnight. There are also many parties held in public establishments.

And every year at 11:55 in the evening, the President addresses the people with a live broadcast. He mainly summarizes the events of the year and mentions future prospects for the new year. This is a tradition popularly observed by many Russians.

After the national broadcast, people raise a toast to the chime of the midnight hour. People exchange presents and greet each other with a Happy New Year. Some people might go out and visit their friend’s house to continue the celebration or attend the grand fireworks display in their city.

New Year’s Is a Time to Drink and Be Merry!

church with colorful bunting flag decorations
Many families celebrate Russian traditions during the New Year's.

New Year’s is the perfect time to celebrate the holidays with your girlfriend. It’s an ideal opportunity to make special memories. What’s more is that you’ll be spending the last day of the year and the start of a new one with someone special.

If your Russian lady invites you to visit her country during the winter holiday and into the new year, then this could be a perfect opportunity to celebrate Russian traditions with her.

Just remember to bring some gifts over, especially if her family invites you to join in their Christmas or New Year’s celebration. And brace yourself for vodka - lots of it.

Do you have someone special to spend New Year’s with? If not, then how about you consider international dating? There are tons of single ladies out there also looking for someone special. Take the chance to find genuine love today!


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