New Year's Eve

6:29 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory /

The only Slavic holiday which has been celebrated by all the Slavic countries was New Year.
The legend says that once upon a time the God of sharp frost Morok wandered about the villages, sending severe cold. The villagers, trying to save themselves from the frost, put the presents on a window-sill: pancakes, kissel, cookies, boiled rice with raising and honey. Now the God Morok turned to be a kind Father Frost (the Russians call him Granddad Moroz), who makes presents. This image was created not long time ago, in the middle of the 19th century.
The cycle of New Year ceremonies started with singing the songs about the past and ended with fortune-telling.

There are lots of tokens belonging to the holiday of New Year:

  • Wearing new clothes on New Year's Eve means buying new clothes the whole year long.

  • You mustn't lend money before the new year, otherwise you will lose money.

  • You mustn't borrow money as it means that you'll be in debts next year.

  • Before the new year the Slavs threw away broken plates and dishes, washed windows and mirrors.

You must forgive offenders, give back your debts, avoid quarrelling. The evening before New Year was called a generous one. Laying a rich table meant wealth for the next year. In the middle of the table there was usually a two-weeks-old broiled sucking pig which symbolised beauty.
At the beginning of the 20th century people began to bake cookies in the form of different animals: horses, cows, pigs, etc. When their guests came in, they presented the cookies to them.
After the revolution of 1917 the holiday of New Year was abolished but people celebrated it secretly. It might create a tradition of celebrating the holiday at table. Since then New Year is considered to be a family and home holiday.
When the table is laid, people switch up a TV-set – an invariable participant of this night. Directly at 23:55 we are listening to the head of state making a speech, summing up and congratulating the citizens. At the moment when the clock on the Spasskaya tower are beating, you must think a wish and it will come true for sure. There is a contradictory tradition which is followed by some people (I know it for sure): During the beating of the clock at 00:00 you must have time to write down a wish, light up a paper with your wish and when it is burnt, you must throw it to the glass of champagne and drink it. I tried it several times but failed to do it – it's difficult to do within a minute.
(To be continued...)

(pictures from,