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Lots to celebrate! New Year 2014’s knocking on the door + Lada Ray Blog is celebrating its 2nd anniversary, and to top it off, my blog has just hosted its one-hundred-thousand’s visitor! That’s over 100,000 people who enjoyed my thoughts, writing, photos and info! This makes me very happy indeed! GRIN! :D

Happy Anniversary, Lada Ray Blog!

Happy New Year 2014! 

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May this new year be filled with much joy, peace, love and beauty for all!

I thought that to mark the holiday and my first 100,000 visitors, I’d post some cool images of the New Year’s celebration in Russia and around the world.

First, a few fun history bits. How does Russia celebrate the New Year? In Russia, as in many other countries, the New Year is the main holiday of the year. It is a secular holiday. Meanwhile Russian religious Christmas is celebrated 2 weeks after Western Christmas, and one week after New Year’s, according to Russia’s Orthodox calendar.

The New Year Tree is normally put up just after Western Christmas (which reminds me, I should really start decorating mine). The New Year is celebrated with Ded Moroz (Father Frost – the equivalent of Santa Claus) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden). There are usually festive and entertaining concerts during the New Year’s Eve, New Year’s night and on January 1, on TV, on Red Square, and in towns and cities around the country. There are many children’s “New Year Tree” parties, called in Russian “Yolochka.” And of course, a lavish New Year table and presents are a must!

It’s worth noting that New Year’s is celebrated this way not only in Russia proper, but also in many other places around the world which form the so called Russian Civilization, or Russian World. This, first and foremost, includes the former Soviet republics, but also the Russian-speaking populations in various countries, such as USA, Canada, Germany, UK and Israel, to name a few.

Russians love to party. It helps that the entire country gets 10 days off to celebrate. What is especially funny from the US perspective, considering the tiny American vacations, is that some Russians complain that this is too much time off, lol!

Some travel during this time, some go to parties, concerts, walks, or simply relax. As a non-drinker, I have to say that one Russian habit isn’t the coolest from my perspective: there are those who also drink way too much. Perhaps that’s why some feel that too much time on their hands prompts those who can’t control themselves to use it for drinking, instead of doing something productive. Of course, one might argue that alcohol warms an cheers you up during cold Russian winter.

Two weeks after the New Year and one week after Russian Orthodox Christmas (Rozhdestvo), there is another interesting holiday – The Old New Year, celebrated on January 14-15th. This is a left-over piece of the old Russian Grigorian calendar, where all holidays were 14 days later than Western calendar due to the leap year difference. The Old New Year is a nostalgic and meditative time, when many reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Also, one of the sacred New Year traditions is watching classic Russian New Year’s comedies, which we observe religiously in our household as well. And how can you not watch these magical masterpieces, together with their wonderful songs, if they never get old, and never fail to put you in a joyful, wonderful, holiday spirit! The most beloved New Year comedies are The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Banya (Ironiya Sudbi, ili S Legkim Parom, 1975) and Carnival Night (Karnavalnaya Noch, 1956), both by the same director, Eldar Ryazanov.

To celebrate my 2nd anniversary and my first 100,000 visitors, I have set up the new Russia Resources section on my blog, where you’ll find links to all my articles about Russia, as well as videos of Russian hit songs from different eras, including some from beloved films, as well as from charming children’s movies and cartoons. The links are at the bottom of this post. I’ll have more, including famous Russian comedies, soon!

S NOVIM GODOM! Happy New Year! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

And now, the New Year celebrations in Russia and beyond – in pics!

Celebrating the New Year on Red Square

NY red square

NY moscow red square

NY Red Sq snow

NY fireworks red square

Russians celebrate the New Year with personal mini-fireworks, while enjoying the big party

NY celebrations in Russia 2 NY celebrations in Russia A child plays with sparklers during New Year's celebrations at Red Square in Moscow

For the winter, a part of Red Square turns into the largest skating rink in Europe

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Russian children love Ded Moroz (Father Frost)

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Ded Moroz in a traditional Russian sleigh in St. Petersburg, Russia

NY St Pete

Ded Moroz riding traditional Russian Troika

NY troika ded moroz

Usually Ded Moroz greets the children with his granddaughter, Snegurochka

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The New Year Tree party and concert for children in the Kremlin

NY Tree party in Kremlin

Some of the coolest New Year Trees of Russia

NY tree Russia

NY tree Russia 2 NY tree Russia 3 NY tree Russia 4NY tree Russia 5

The New Year Tree in front of Bolshoi Theater, Moscow

Bolshoi Theater before Christmas - Magic of Moscow by Moscow Guide and Driver

The New Year Tree in GUM Department Store, Moscow

Russia New Year

Winter wedding: hanging wedding padlocks on artificial trees at -14C on Newlyweds Bridge, Moscow, Russia

Moscow Winter Brides

A super-healthy way to celebrate the New Year, but please, don’t try this at home! Only in Russia! Winter swimmers’ club (“Morzhi”) floating a New Year Tree in chilly river! What fun – brrrr ;)

new_year_Russia_2013 winter bathing

Meanwhile in Siberia…

Breathtaking view of Sacred Lake Baikal frozen in winter

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Lake Baikal: the Shaman Tree, aka, Mother Tree, in winter, adorned with prayer scarves – with frozen Lake Baikal in the background

mother-tree shaman tree lake-baikal-siberia

Russian art – handpainted Russian domes, the New Year Tree decorations

NY Russian_Handicrafts

Russian winter wonderland!

Winter wonderland at Winter Palace (Hermitage), St. Petersburg

cropped-winter-palace-banner.gifCatherine Palace winter wonderland, St. Petersburg

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Winter wonderland at Novodevichiy Monastery, Moscow

NY novodevichiy monasteryLavish Russian New Year table

Typical Russian NY spread

Typical Russian holiday spread

Typical Russian NY spread 2

RUSSIAN NEW YEAR MUSICAL VIDEOS

С НОВЫМ 2014 ГОДОМ!!! Amateur Happy New Year musical video with Ded Moroz, Snegurochka, Yolochka (New Year Tree) and cute children’s songs!

‘New Year Song’ performed by band Blestiashie. Группа «Блестящие». Клип «Новогодняя песня»

New Year fireworks around the world

One of my favorite cities: Kuala Lampur, Malaysia – with Petronas Towers

Fireworks explode near the Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur

One of the coolest New Year fireworks in Sydney, Australia

AUSTRALIA-NEW YEAR

Taipei, Taiwan

NY Taiwan, Taipei

London, UK

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Check out my new Russia resource page. Also, check out Legendary Soviet Music Hits and Contemporary Russian music pages. I’ll post links to some fave Russian New Year comedies and songs soon!

S NOVIM GODOM! C Новым годом!

My two books, which take place in Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg and Lake Baikal in Siberia. Click on image for more!

GOLD GT COVER ebook

ES COVER ebook 2

c novim godom

Newly added! Watch New Year 2014 fireworks around the world -live!

Dazzling New Year fireworks: Russia, UK, US, China & New Zealand ring in 2014

Sydney Show: Fireworks spectacular heralds New Year’s in Australia

Massive fireworks in Dubai lights up Burj Khalifa to celebrate New Year 2014

Don’t forget to check the comment section for a heart-warming story about a random act of kindness, and thoughts about the Russian soul, from an American expat in Russia!