Russian Holidays - NEW YEAR
The First Holiday in the calendar is New Year. There is hardly any other holiday that is anticipated this much every year. Children dream about New Year gifts, and adults about their dreams coming true and everybody wishes happiness to each other on the New Year's Eve. In schools they have different performances and in offices they have New Year parties. However this holiday is very family-like that's why many people choose to celebrate it at home or with friends. They decorate a New Year tree and set up the holiday table.
The first New Year in Russia to be celebrated on the night of 31st of December was in 1700 under Piter I. Before that they celebrated New Year on the 1st of September, and even before that on the 1st of March. Just like in Europe the symbol of this holiday became a New Year tree, a spruce. Although in his decree in 1699 Piter I was mentioning a tree in general not a spruce in particular. First these New Year trees were decorated with nuts, candies, fruit and even vegetables, and this didn't change until the middle of 19 century. For the first time a decorated spruce was shining with lights was in 1852 in St. Petersburg inside Yekaterinensky (Moskovsky nowadays) rairoad station. In the middle of 19 century there appeared first New Year tree decoration toys, bands and colorful paper. By the end of the century fashionable theater performances became popular, often reminding great balls.Then appeared Grandpa Frost (Дед Мороз) (an analog of Santa Clause - Санта Клаус),and then his granddaughter Snegurochka ( внучка Снегурочка). In the first years the Soviet government didn't approve of this holiday with a New Year tree, thinking it is too bourgeois, although they later accepted this tradition. In the Soviet period they added these dished to the NewYear menu: студень (jellied meat), селедка под шубой (salad with herring and beets and cheese), салат Оливье(salad Olivie), and of course the opening of a bottle of Soviet Champagne (открытие бутылки «Советского шампанского») with the sound of Kremlin clock in the background. There also appeared «Голубые огоньки» (New Year TV shows with pop singers - Blue lights), and New Year movies.