Monday, December 15, 2008

С Рождеством

That is Merry Christmas in Russian!!!

Well... it's been awhile since we last posted but there hasn't been much on our home front with the adoption.... we are in the waiting stage.... waiting to hear what region our dossier has made it's way to ... hopefully this news will come soon and then the wait for a match begins.

How long will this take? Good question.... right now the answer we are getting from the agency is that families are waiting 6-12months for referrals for a sibling group... so we WAIT!!!

In the mean time as we prepare for our Christmas holiday I thought I'd share what Christmas in our house will "hopefully" be like for us next year!!!

December… The first thought that comes to mind is holidays! And the upcoming holidays are a big part of Russian Culture. During the Soviet era all religion and religious celebrations were banned, including Christmas. Therefore, secular holidays became more important, and New Year’s became the biggest and most festive holiday
for people in the Russia.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Christmas is now being celebrated
again. However, Russians do not celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December,but rather on January 7th. This is because the Russian Orthodox Church, like all other Orthodox Churches, still uses the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. In everyday life, however, Russians use the Gregorian calendar, and the beginning of the New Year is therefore celebrated on the same day as in the rest of the world. This means that in former Soviet countries the New Year celebration comes before Christmas.

Russia began celebrating the New Year as a separate holiday in 1700, when, on the order of Czar Peter the Great, Russia started to count the New Year as beginning in January rather than September, as had been done previously. At the same time, an order "about the celebration of the new year" was issued and people began a tradition of decorating their houses with pine boughs. In spite of this, Christmas remained the main holiday of the season until the revolution in 1917 when the new government tried to minimize the role of faith in Soviet people's lives and persuaded them to pay more attention to New Year celebrations than Christmas celebrations. Today, more and more people are trying to restore the Orthodox traditions, but the New Year traditions remain strong and it is still the main winter holiday celebrated in the home.

The main New Year’s celebration takes place during the night of December 31st - January 1st. People get together around the table, eat lots of home-cooked food, exchange wrapped gifts, take pictures, watch TV, go outside to watch fireworks, and go to bed really late. Many people continue visiting their friends and relatives with New Year greetings for several days or even weeks. It is also quite common to have a New Year party with colleagues from work several days before December 31st.

The big New Year celebration usually ends after January 13th, when the country celebrates the so-called "Old New Year". This event is unofficial but is a very popular holiday and represents the beginning of a new year according to the old Julian calendar. After that, people finally remove the decorations from their houses, take down the trees, and get back to work.

Nearly everyone celebrates New Year in the same way on the whole territory of the former Soviet Union.
The New Year’s Tree (Novogodnaya Yolka), decorated with tinsel and sweets is always in the center of attention. During Soviet times people also used to put a big red star on top of the tree. Now some people put angels on top of it or some other decoration, but many still use the red star.

Old Grandpa Frost (Ded Moroz), similar to Santa Claus, and his granddaughter Snowgirl
(Snegurochka) bring presents for the children. Similar to the US, children are told that in order to get a present from Old Grandpa Frost they must behave well all year.
The most common food for the New Year table is Olivier salad (consisting of chopped meat or chicken, potatoes, pickles, green peas, onions, carrots, and mayonnaise), while the most common drink is champagne. After listening to the traditional New Year speech from the president, everybody tries to open a bottle of champagne and make a wish within the first seconds of the New Year.

New Year’s is a very festive time in Russia. Everyone dresses up and children are allowed to stay up very late welcoming the New Year with their parents.

On a personal note - we are very excited to make New Year's a tradition to celebrate in our house in honor of our children's heritage. New Year's was always something we celebrated at my grandparent's house with family and food ... looks like they may have been on to something and hopefully beginning next year we will begin that celebration with our children, family and friends!!!