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Moscow Arthur Lookyanov
Travel to Russia with Your Private Guide and Professional Driver

Celebrations of New Year's Eve

Celebrations of New Year's Eve

So now that you understand why we still prefer New Year's Eve vs. Christmas I think it is time to share some common traditions about how most people celebrate New Year's in Russia. The New Year holiday is very popular, especially with children who are impatiently waiting for presents that are supposed to be sent by Grandfather Frost.They can find these gifts carefully hidden in a special bag under the New Year's tree than can be a real or artificial tree. The New Year's tree is ornately decorated with garlands, tinsel, various ornaments and colored lights. Near the tree you can find wooden, plastic or fabric figures of Grandfather Frost and his granddaughter "Snegurochka" or the Snow Maiden. About an hour before New Year's, families and friends gather around a festively decorated table filled with assorted salads, hot meat or fish dishes, and alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. We give thanks to God for everything good that has happened in the past year. After seeing off the old year, we listen to a speech by our President. All people with goodness in their hearts make a personal wish or New Year's resolution while listening to the clock on the Savior's Tower of the Moscow Kremlin (our Big Ben) chime 12 times. Then we drink champagne and wish everybody a happy New Year with good health, prosperity, love, peace, and happiness. Also, in the first minutes of New Year's, it is the time to exchange gifts. The Russian women like to continue to drink champagne (the classical drink for this holiday) or switch to wine. For the men it is more common to drink the more strong alcoholic drinks such as vodka or Armenian cognac. Of course, it can depend on personal taste and the situation. Children drink juices or lemonade. The traditional New Year's cuisine can include pies stuffed with meat, potatoes or cabbage, mashed potatoes with chicken, meat in aspic, salads such as "Olivie" (well known as "Winter" salad) and "Herring under fur" are the favorite ones. I think that the recipe and details must be the theme of another piece! I will ask my wife to post a few recipes that are for the holidays.

During New Year's Eve it is very popular to go out with the children at night to watch the fireworks, throw snowballs, make snowmen, or just have fun and feel the fresh air after the heavy meals and drinks. Of course it is more pleasant to do so when it is truly winter weather outside of about -10 or -15C and a lot of snow! It is a pity that possibly because of the global warming in the last several years the New Year's in Moscow has been almost without snow. Yesterday, on December 22nd, there was no snow in the city even with temperatures below zero (-7 to -10 C), but this morning, when I was woke up at 6:00 AM, all grounds were covered with snow and a light snowfall was going almost the whole day. So, after seeing off my wife this morning to a closest railway station, I decided to repeat the yesterday’s photo-session and went to the area of the Red Square again. At first I wanted to repeat the yesterday’s shot in front of the State Historical museum, but they started to assemble quite big stage there and were a lot of trucks around, so the choice was the most famous square in Russia because of I came a bit late (8:30 am) and it is already started a day light.

On this picture you can see how the Red Square looks at the end of 2008 covered with a thin lawer of snow. From the left side of New Year's tree is a skate rink on the square (to put the skate rink on the Red Square is became tradition from 2005), so I hope that you liked my composition here - Christmas tree from the left, St. Basil's - in the central part (of course :-)) and Lenin's Tomb with the Savior’s Tower of Moscow Kremlin from the right.

PS: During the last two shootings at early mornings on December 22 and 23 I took several more interesting pictures for you and will try to upload it to this news with short comments till December 25. Visit my website from time to time and stay in touch!

With BEST Regards,
Arthur Lookyanov
Seasons Greetings 2009 Year
Dated: Dec 23rd, 2008

Photo taken on 2008-12-23 at 08:22:25

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From: Ireland
Date: 2006-12-21 15:38:48

Arthur is one of Russia's hidden treasures ... Arthur's knowledge and professionalisim is above and beyond call. He is a man of many qualities and a man you can trust and call friend. Thank You to Arthur for making my Russian experience one I will never forget.