RS Culture & customs

Culture & customs

The “Old New Year” – now that’s something of a riddle there!

March 2012

Every year, on the night from January 13 to January 14, Russians celebrate the so-called Old New Year – a feast that seems to be totally incomprehensible for many foreigners. Looks like no one is capable to explain in fact – what is the difference between this feast and the traditional New Year, as we know it? Naturally, it would seem a date discrepancy. And still, we tend to treat the old-style New Year as an independent holiday helping us to prolong the joy and pleasure of the winter holidays. And maybe to feel them for the first time over, - since the situations vary, - because that day is far quieter than January 1, which is drowned in hustle and bustle. For many believers the old-style New Year has a very special meaning, since they can only indulge in real celebration after the end of the Advent fast.

‘There is no such thing as a Russian who doesn’t love to travel fast’

December 2011

When there was neither the monorail nor the metro and even the automobile was a novelty, the roads were dominated by the horse.
There were all kinds of horse-drawn vehicles but they were all drawn by horses and yet people then still managed to arrange appointments and show up for them on time.

Traditional Russian Tea party

August 2011

Even the tactful Japanese probably would smirk or at the very least express puzzlement if someone told them about a ‘Traditional Russian Tea party’. And yet, it is a well known fact that Russians cannot live without tea. And today, just like in the past, Russian families will get together and sit down at a table not to have lunch or dinner but to have tea. Even coffee that has been slowly but surely making inroads onto Russian tables still has not been able to replace tea. Russians will drink tea on any occasion and with no occasion whatsoever.

The merry Ivan Kupala

June 2011

Kupala (Kupaila) — the summer solstice (June 21) – is the festive welcoming of the matured, grown in strength summer sun, which transforms at dawn from being Yarila, the Sun youth, into the mighty Kupaila, a manly Sun, - the god of fertility who in the pre-Christian tradition was portrayed as a man crowned with a wreath of yellow flowers.

Maslenitsa celebrations

March 2011

Maslenitsa (prior to the XVI century – the pagan feast of Komoeyditsa) is one of the major pagan festivities of the ancient Slavs, a two-week holiday marking the welcoming of Spring and the beginning of the Slavic New Year on the Vernal Equinox Day (20 or 21 March the new style), as well as the beginning of the spring season agricultural labour. The celebration of Komoyeditsa would begin a week before the Vernal Equinox Say and be over with the first week after it.