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Author Topic: A Snowy Eastern Christmas  (Read 62068 times)

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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2007, 12:46:29 AM »
Perhaps one of the favourite Christmas songs in Ukraine and in Russia is the Pine Tree Song.  It is this tree that makes up the "New Years Tree" found in homes and all over the towns.


В лесу родилась ёлочка,                 A pinetree was born in the forest

В лесу она росла,                             It was grown in the forest,

Зимой и летом стройная,             It was slender in winter and in  summer

Зелёная была.                                 It was green.

 

Метель ей пелп песенку:               The storm sang a song to her:

Спи, ёлочка, бай-бай,                     'Sleep little pinetree, bay-bay,

Мороз снежком укутывал:           The freeze shields by snow:

Смотри, не замерзай!                   Watch out so as not to freeze.'

 

Трусишка зайка серенький          A fearful rabbit is

Под ёлочкой скакал.                       Jumping on the pinetree,

Порою волк, сердитый волк,         Sometimes a wolf, the angry wolf

Рысцою пробегал.                           Carelessly runs away.

 

Снуг по лесу частому                      Snow covers the forever forest

Под холодом скрипие,                     Under the cold roar,

Лошадка мохноногая                      The horse with hairy legs

Торопиться, бежит.                      Hurriedly runs.

 

Везёт лошадка дровеньки,             The horse is carrying the tree

А в дровнях старичок,                    An old man is sitting on the tree

Срубил он нашу ёлочку                    He cuts down our pinetree

Под самый корешок.                       From its stock.

 

Телерь тв здесь, нарядная,           Now here you are, solemnly,

На праздник к нам пришла            Come with us to celebrate

И много, много радости                  And lots of happiness was

Детишкам принесла.                      Carried by you to children.



Differences in tree decorations:
Sometimes you can't tell the difference between a Russian News Years Tree and a western Christmas Tree, but sometimes it is possible.  Generally, and there will certain be exceptions, but generally the Ukrainian and Russian decorations will run up and down the tree, vertically.  Often in the west we tend to wrap decorations around the tree which slowly make their way around the tree from top to bottom.


It is normal in the home of an elderly pensioner to find a branch of a pine tree serving as their New Year's tree.  It is all they could afford.  In general Ukrainians and Russians don't like artificial trees.  They have a keen sense of nature and most would rather have a small and imperfect real tree than a perfect artificial replacement. 

Although the times are changing and young families sometimes do purchase an artificial tree.  Still however the market for artificial trees, while growing, is very small.

It is very common for News Years trees to be only a small height.  Rather than free-standing on the floor, most trees sit on a table top.


Here is the lighting of the city New Year's Tree in Kyiv:



Here is the New Year's tree in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine:


The photo below illustrates what a typical family tree might look like in your lady's family flat:


ila_rendered

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2007, 01:08:03 AM »
Winter in Moscow:


Winter streets-Moscow:


I'm getting cold just watching!


True, they are not angels, but these ladies certainly make one wish to jump on the nearest plane and celebrate Christmas in Russia as soon as possible!  Their music is not bad either:



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2007, 01:30:21 AM »
Time for the answer to our first trivia question:

3 days ago we announced that "It's trivia time!"

The first question was, "Who is that writer/composer?"

Hints:
- He was Ukrainian.
- But lived his adult life in the USA.
- He was Jewish.
- But wrote one of the most famous Christmas songs in modern history.

Who was he.......and what is that very famous song?

(Drum roll please).......

Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" is the historical "biggie" of popular Christmas songs. Its incredible success inspired scores of other songwriters to try and write a Christmas song.

Berlin, one of the most famous songwriters in American history, was born Israel Baline in what is now Russia but in disputed territory and he considered himself to be Ukrainian. He came to the States in 1891. His father is alternately reported to have been a cantor or rabbi, but didn't work in either capacity when the family moved to America. His father's death, when Irving was 13, forced Irving Berlin to find work--like singing in the streets--just so he and his family could eat.

Berlin certainly never hid the fact that he was Jewish, even though he changed his name (he adopted "Berlin" because that was how his last name, Baline, was misspelled on the sheet music cover of his first published song).

Despite his rabbi father, Irving Berlin was never a religious man--although he supported Jewish causes--like the State of Israel. He was absolutely very much an American patriot--and "God Bless America" was a sincere statement of his beliefs. (The royalties to that song go to the Boys and Girls Scouts).

For Berlin, personally, Christmas was not a happy time. His second wife, and the love of his life, was a Catholic. While Berlin remained a secular Jew, he allowed his children with his second wife to be raised as Episcopalians. One of their children, a son, died very young on Christmas day in the 1920s.

Berlin celebrated Christmas with his wife and his surviving children when those children were young, but he was always reportedly sad on that day--mourning his dead child. He did not celebrate the holiday at all when his surviving children were grown-up.

We give you....White Christmas by the Sugarbabes:




Offline ForgeMaster

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2007, 10:52:12 AM »
mendeleyev,
  I work alone today in a building with a panoramic view of the Appalachian mountains in Virginia.  I sit here waiting for  something to go wrong with the computer network.  In the middle of that time I began your thread here and followed it to the end.  For about two hours I wandered with you in a land far away.  It was wonderful.  Every song, every story, every memory....
thank you,
FM
ForgeMaster
FirstMember

Offline Bobalouie

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2007, 11:12:54 AM »
I dont mean to hijack your thread here mendy, but I have to tell someone this!  My fiancee told me what my new years present is this year!  She has bought us plane tickets to St. Pete, and we will be there for New Years!  :party0011: She has all kinds of excurisions and stuff for me to see already set up!  As you can tell I am pretty excited about it! I thought i was going to be in Sochi from the 29th thru the 8th, but now i will be in St. Pete from the 30th thru the 5th and then back to Sochi!  She is a great girl!!!!  :bow:
Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun!

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2007, 11:33:57 AM »
FM, we are glad you're enjoying this thread!  Thank you for your kind words.

Bobalouie, you will have a fantastic time in St P!

Offline LEGAL

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2007, 11:37:35 AM »
Bobalouie Christmas & new years in Saint Petersburg is very beautiful. Olga and I have lots of memories, photos and videos. Make sure you hook up with Phil & Nina, you will have the best person and friend to show you the real Saint Petersburg. Just outside of town you can even take a romantic Sani ride through the countryside.


Sorry mendeleyev for the  :offtopic: comments.

Offline Olga

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2007, 11:56:50 AM »
This is our personal Christmas greeting card  :)

Merry Christmas!

Offline Olga

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2007, 06:01:31 PM »
"Christmas in my country"

A song by Alexander Vertinsky

Alexander Vertinsky's short biography

I love the songs of Alexander Vertinsky so this video also is a tribute to his art  :)


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2007, 09:01:08 PM »
We interrupt this broadcast for a Snow Maiden MINISKIRT alert!

Stop the press!  Bulletin, bulletin.

Stand by for this report:

Coming to you in five, four, three, two.......

This is your reporter live from Moldova reporting on the amazing sighting of the Snow Maiden, Snegurochka, in a miniskirt!  We go live to our exclusive videocam:

That is one hot, er, ah, I mean, ah.....I'm not sure what I mean.  There with your own eyes, you have seen our eyewitness report.

We now return you back to your regular scheduled Christmas.



Offline LEGAL

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2007, 09:18:58 PM »
Ah Yes those beautiful Snow Maidens. That is just one more reason to love Russia.

Notice we don't have them here in America   :(  BUT WAIT I HAVE OLGA AND HER LITTLE CHRISTMAS OUTFIT  :king:

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2007, 09:35:13 PM »
Legal, this one is just for us guys.  DO NOT tell your Olga about this particular post!  Swear on a stack of rubles?  Okay.

For just the guys, our Moldova videocam has moved to Ukraine where our reporter is now filming the Snow Maiden in a striptease! (Well, pretty close to one.)

Now, we take you by satellite to the RU Adventures roving Lada newsmobile in Ukraine:



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2007, 09:44:42 PM »
In the interest of equal time, we present several "milder" versions of the Snow Maiden!


Cute cartoon:


Russian teen sensation Natasha Baranova and some of her lovely friends give a family-oriented version:


Modern Rock and roll version of dancing Snow Maiden:



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2007, 10:10:32 PM »
Okay, before the move off this Snow Maiden thing, here are a couple of videos for the ladies:


Ad for participants in the Washington state (USA) Russian Club Snow Maiden contest:


Oh dear!  Here is what it looks like when the guys dress up as Snow Maidens!

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2007, 11:11:10 PM »
We turn southwest to what Russians sometimes call "little Russia" but don't let a Ukrainian hear you talk like that.  Those are legitimate fighting words. 

So how is Christmas coming along in Ukraine?

Those sleds look a lot different from the ones we used when I was a kid!

The winter holidays are prime for giving flowers...perfect as a gift for New Years. 


Ukraine winter train ride.  Burr, this looks COLD!






















ila_rendered

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2007, 11:16:18 PM »
So, what is Christmas time like to the average Russian family?

Well, first it's snowy and cold.  This video was shot from inside a Russian apartment, high above the street on 23 December 2006: 

Often it's too cold for children to venture outside so a mother must be very good at entertaining little ones in addition to all her other household duties.

Heat can be erratic:  Most Russian and Ukrainian apartments have "central heating."  By that we mean it is fed via steam, to entire blocks and rows of apartment buildings.  Individual apartments have steam radiators, most often without controls entirely or with valves so old and rusted that to adjust them is an invitation to a disasterous steam explosion.  When it's too hot, one cracks open a window.  When it's too cold you close the window.  That is your "thermostat."  In fact, apartments built before the early 2000s don't even have thermostats.  A thermostat is made to control the flow and the flow is controlled not by you, but by Boris down at the local steam station.

If you want to know the temperature most apartment dwellers have a thermometer attached to an outside window.  Inside, you already know if it's warm or cold.  What you want to know is, how cold is it outside?

In daytime much of the steam is diverted away from the apartment blocks (the Russian term is "sleeping zones") and fed to business and shops which are open in daytime.  It may become chilly in your apartment so you'll "layer" your clothing depending on the warmth inside your home.

At night the opposite takes place.  Well, it's susposed to take place.  Working past 4pm at the office can get chilly because thats about the time when the steam begins to be redirected back to apartment blocks in the "sleeping zones."  Employees who work late begin to "layer" clothing as they continue to work.

When to take a shower:  Morning is not a good time.  Your body will be softened by the warm water, and exposure to the freezing temperatures and wind combine for the perfect recipe for pneumonia.  Showers are safer at night after you've completed all the outdoor activities.

Its not uncommon at night for your apartment to become very warm as you go to sleep but by morning it may be drifting back to the chilly side of living.

Those modern electric somavar hot water kettles are busy on cold winter days and nights.  Tea is a staple all year long, but doubles as medicine for sore throats in winter.



Footnote:  This painting is a winter scene by my wife and titled "Patriarch's Park."



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #41 on: November 27, 2007, 12:29:45 AM »
On a cold "Christmasy" night it's fun to crawl into a warm bed with your lady.  Here is how that is done (as if any of you guys needed help!):   :chuckle:

- Clear the room.  Just a few minutes ago it was a living room, dining room or day work space.
- Pull out the sofa. 
- Lift up the sofa top and bring out the blankets and pillows where they were stored.
- Make the bed (fitted sheets are useless here--every sheet is "flat."
- Arrange the blankets, the cover, and the pillows.
- Pillows are the square European style (very unlike the long American style pillows).
- Your lady probably likes the bright designs on her sheets.  They can be very colourful.  The most colourful I've seen were made in Ukraine and Belarussia.
- Your lady probably likes a coverlet on top of it all.  It's two sheets sewn together, with designs and literally stuffed with a blanket inside.  Very colourful.  Very warm with that blanket stuffed inside it!
- Now, slip inside and snuggle!   8)

And in the morning you store the bedding inside the sofa, fold it back into it's daytime sofa shape, move the furnishings back into their daytime arrangement and presto....you're back in the living room, dining room, work space, etc.


Some key things to know:
- Because of the differences in sizes, American bedding in particular doesn't work well in Russia.  The fitted sheet--useless, it's too wide, made for a thick mattress not found too often in Russia, and not practical.  The flat sheet can be used but is way too big for those narrow bed sizes.  The pillowcases won't fit those square pillows either.
- Americans love thick and fluffy bath towels, especially in winter.  Beware, they take up too much space in those small European washing machines, not to mention the narrow towel racks in bathrooms already cramped for space. 
- What does make a good gift is a nice thick wool blanket.  Especially the twin bed sizes--they'll work fine on a regular "double bed" in Russia.  The thicker and more colourful...the better.


Bedding Glossary:
Bed (кровать)
Coverlet (покрывало)
Blanket...as in woolen blanket (шерстяное одеяло)
Pillow (подушка)
Sofa (диван)
Towel (полотенце)

Yes, in day the sofa is called a диван (di-vahn) and by night it is a кровать (kra-vat).

Bedding footnote:  A man just meeting a lady should never take a bedding gift.  It's considered in the "intimate" catagory and better left for after a relationship is well established.  You don't want to offend her family in an early meeting. 


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #42 on: November 27, 2007, 12:48:19 AM »
"Winter Evening"
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin

The mist of the storm covers the sky,
The whirlwinds of snow are spinning;
Now, like a wild beast it calls,
now it cries like a child,
Now about the roof, decrepit,
Suddenly it rustles the thatches,
Now, like a traveler overdue,
to us on the window knocks.

Our ancient hut
is mournful and gloomy.
Why have you, my old lady,
Become silent at the window?
Is it the howl of the tempest
That makes you, my friend, fatigued,
Or are you drowsing under the hum
Of your spindle?

Let's drink good friend
Of my poor youth,
Let's drink away grief; where is the tankard?
It will make our hearts gay.
Intoxicate, me with a song, like a titmouse
Quietly living across the sea;
Intoxicate me with a song, like a girl
Who went for the water in the morning.

The mist of the storm covers the sky,
The whirlwinds of snow are spinning;
Now, like a wild beast, it calls,
Now it cries, like a child.
Let's drink, good friend
Of my poor youth,
Let's drink away grief; where is the tankard?
It will make our hearts gay.


Painting:
My wife's rendition of the city of Kaluga which won it's catagory in 2002 exhibition, "Blue Kaluga."






Cool videos:

Dramatic winter storm filmed from window of Moscow apartment:


Hot babe in hot car shops for colourful flowers in freezing snow:

Offline Olga

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #43 on: November 27, 2007, 07:54:47 AM »
Boris Pasternak

There'll be no one in the house
Save for twilight. All alone,
Winter's day seen in the space that's
Made by curtains left undrawn.

Only flash-past of the wet white
Snowflake clusters, glimpsed and gone.
Only roofs and snows, and save for
Roofs and snow - no one at home.

Once more, frost will trace its patterns,
I'll be haunted once again
By my last-year's melancholy,
By that other wintertime.

Once more I'll be troubled by an
Old, un-expiated shame,
And the icy firewood famine
Will press on the window-pane.

But the quiver of intrusion
Through those curtain folds will run
Measuring silence with your footsteps,
Like the future, in you'll come.

You'll appear there in the doorway
Wearing something white and plain,
Something in the very stuff from
Which the snowflakes too are sewn.

Russian composer Mikael Tariverdiev set this poem of Boris Pasternak (as many others his poems) to music and now you can here this song in movie "The Irony Of Fate, Or Enjoy Your Bath" ( Ironiya Sudby ili S Lyogkim Parom) by Eldar Ryazanov.

Offline Olga

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2007, 08:08:48 AM »
The most popular New Year movie in Russia is "Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your Bath" ((1975)


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Review Summary

This modestly budgeted, made-for-TV romantic comedy became one of the most popular films in the former Soviet Union and a staple of TV broadcasts on New Year's Eve. It's based on the premise that modern apartment complexes look so much alike that one cannot distinguish one city from another. On New Year's Eve, Muscovite Yevgeny Lukashin (Andrei Myagkov) finally dares to make a marriage proposal to Galya (Olga Naumenko). They plan to celebrate the New Year together quietly, but Lukashin's friends convince him that first he should attend their annual meeting at a bathhouse. The meeting quickly turns into an improvisational bachelor party for Yevgeny. Having consumed large amounts of alcohol, they cannot remember which one of them was supposed to fly to Leningrad to meet his wife. So they put the sleepy Lukashin on a plane. Upon his arrival in the Leningrad airport, Yevgeny gives the taxi driver his Moscow street address and the cab takes him to an apartment complex located on a street with the same name. The building looks very much like his own, so Lukashin, still not quite sober, does not realize that he is in another city. He enters someone else's apartment because his key fits the door lock and he quickly falls asleep on a couch. When the apartment's rightful resident, Nadya (Polish actress Barbara Brylska), comes home, she wakes up the intruder and tells him to get out. The bewildered Yevgeny insists that he is at home and she is the one who should get out. Eventually he sobers and finds out about his predicament. He is about to leave when the situation is further complicated by the arrival of Nadya's straight-laced fiancé Ippolit (Yuri Yakovlev) who does not believe in Lukashin's story and accuses Nadya of being unfaithful. The interaction between the three characters results in Nadya and Yevgeny's gradual falling in love with each other. ~ Yuri German, All Movie Guide

Offline Olga

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2007, 11:46:25 AM »
Two years ago Robert and I had a great Christmas in St. Petersburg.
We visited the museums, theaters and historical places.
Our big thanks to Phil and Nina who helped Robert to organize his wonderful proposal of marriage to me at the Hermitage Theater.
Nina has her web site "Flowers by Nina" http://www.flowersbynina.com/ So if you would like to send a nice Christmas bouquet you can use her service  :)   

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #46 on: November 29, 2007, 01:42:45 AM »
Here is one man's video of his trip to Kyiv in December 2005 with some nice clips of the New Years Eve celebration on Independence Square:



Here is an authentic Ukrainian "New Year's Table" with plenty of food and an explanation of some of the menu items.  Notice the turkey being prepared for baking.  Yes, it's so small compared to those big American birds we just enjoyed at Thanksgiving.  Not so tasty either.  It will be very tough when cooked.  Turkey is not as big of a
favourite over there--in part because their birds are more "natural" and without the massive growth hormones, don't have the same amount of fat which makes our turkeys so tender and flavourful...even if it is killing us slowly to eat our very delicious birds:


Now one of the most familiar Christmas songs in the west.  You probably already knew it was of Ukrainian origin!  Here is the "Carol of the Bells:"


And I couldn't resist posting another of my Aya's winter paintings.



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #47 on: November 29, 2007, 10:33:01 AM »
1)  Moscow winter apartments

2)  Convent bathed in snow and fog

3)  New Years tree inside GUM mall

4)  Shopping for New Years gifts

5)  Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden visit school!

6)  Grandfather Frost shops at GUM

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2007, 10:40:07 AM »
1)  I'm always surprised that this perfectly good potential New Years tree survived past the holidays!

2)  Moscow park in winter

3)  Winter scene from steps of Christ Cathedral looking toward central Moscow

4)  Watch your step!

5)  VDNK wishes you a happy New Year!   :sick0012:

6)  Kremlin winter view from walkway on Christ Cathedral

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: A Russian New Year & Christmas
« Reply #49 on: December 03, 2007, 08:50:10 AM »
Soon it will be time to embarrass my wife!   :)

It's our tradition at holidays.  She knows it's coming.

Those of you married or engaged to a RW know that expression very well, "its our tradition." 

When you question your newly arrived wife as to why your cans of motor oil have been moved from the garage to underneath the bathroom sink counter, "it's our tradition."  When you ask why she insists you must be fully dressed, shaved, hair combed and teeth brushed all just so you can step out to empty the trash, "it's our tradition."  When you ask why everyone in the family must sit silently on a bench near the door for 15-30 seconds before leaving for a trip, "it's our tradition."

So I have come up with just a few traditions of my own!  They do tend to drive my Aya a bit crazy, but that is the entire point!   :king:

One of my favourites is to greet everyone on the street or at the bus stop.  As you can imagine, those stoic Russians who rarely acknowledge each other, who rarely smile, and who rarely greet a stranger on the street, they think I'm a nut case when I turn on the jolly old Saint Nick charm at New Years and Christmas.

So, when walking around the streets I greet everyone with a big smile and a hearty greeting.   Now if you're going to make this work you can't be shy about it.  You need to smile, spread your arms wide like greeting a long lost friend, take a deep breath, and let 'er rip!  To everybody, even the police!

С новым годом! is Happy New Year!

С Рождеством Христовым! or just С Рождеством is Merry Christmas!

Just go for it.  It's Christmas time...don't be shy.  Now in Russia they will look at you kind of funny.  But it will put a smile on most faces.  I've sent old babuskhas giggling down the street while my wife turns beet red.  I've made businessmen laugh and return the greeting.  One time I greeted a bus driver with С новым годом!  No response.  He just kept driving.  So I ripped off a С Рождеством!  He sent the cashier back to check as to whether I was drunk. 

Children love it--it's so unRussian they'll think you're an American, or even worse.

When my wife tells me that it's not an American tradition, I revert to that other old standby.  You know, the one she beats me over the head with if I point out that one of her traditions isn't really a Russian tradition:  Hey, it's a family tradition!

She can't argue with that one.   :party0031:

С новым годом!  С Рождеством Христовым!

That's the spirit!








 

 

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