Voices from Russia

Sunday, 31 December 2017

31 December 2017. Out With the Skanky Old Year!

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I believe that l’Comedie Humaine will continue running for yet another year… keep the jug at hand and keep sayin’ your prayers…

BMD

Friday, 30 December 2016

30 December 2016. On the New Year…

00 Russian New Year 06. Moscow Red Square New Year Tree. 01.01.15

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Since childhood, I’ve loved the New Year holiday. For me, this day conjures up such things as family cosiness, with joy and gifts for every Soviet child. Then, when I grew older, as a student, I celebrated the holiday with gusto… that’s normal for young people. Yes, it’s true that I wasn’t yet “churched”. When that happened, of course, everything changed, but all the same, the New Year is still a positive part of my life. However, there’s a time for everything… being drunk and running in the streets at midnight shouting, “Ura! The New Year!”, apparently, is something we lose along with our adolescence. There are those who believe that Orthodox believers shouldn’t celebrate the New Year. Of course, some things are unacceptable, such as rampant drunkenness, but some things are innocent. Now, for me, the holiday helps me to understand the past year in my life, to help me transition to a new part of my life. For many years, I’ve served Divine Liturgy on New Year’s Eve. Usually, there aren’t many people there, maybe 50 or so, but we serve the liturgy with great joy, for we’re beginning the New Year with prayer and communion. After the service, we all get together for a meal together. Mostly, it’s my family and our regular parishioners. However, often, random people come in off the street… they’re walking around, exploding firecrackers… then, suddenly, why, there’s an open church, with church bells ringing… they open the door, the icons catch their eyes, and before you know it, they stay until the end of the Liturgy. They’ll remember this unexpected New Year’s Eve experience for a very long time.

00-fr-aleksei-uminsky-russia-121216Archpriest Aleksei Uminsky

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Saturday, 17 January 2015

How to Drink Vodka with Russians… and Not Get Drunk

poster-for-samogonshchiki-moonshiners

This is a poster for the famous Sov 1961 comedy Самогонщики (Samogonshchiki: The Moonshiners)… click here and watch it (along with another short that comes first)… there’s no dialogue… just fun. Have a drink (or two) and smile!

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With the New Year just around the corner, the chance of visitors to Russia not being asked to join the locals for a few celebratory drinks is extremely slim. However, what steps should you take to make sure a traditional vodka session doesn’t leave your head spinning by midnight? RBTH offers useful tips on how best to prepare for a New Year’s feast and avoid its less welcome side effects. When it comes to stereotypes about Russia, there are few more potent than the natives’ supposed attachment to drinking vodka. Foreigners often wonder, “Why do Russians love vodka so much?” Still, with New Year celebrations upon us, another question becomes more topical, “How should you drink vodka with Russians?”

Some attribute Russians’ supposed extraordinary ability to drink a lot of vodka to genetics. However, Russians themselves say that this ability has nothing to do with biology; in fact, it’s rooted in Russian traditions. Often, Russian businessman Artyom Minayev invites foreigners to Moscow restaurants to discuss business; he’s concluded that foreigners don’t know how to drink vodka, saying, “The biggest problem with Europeans, Americans, and the Chinese is that they drink and don’t take any food immediately after. So, after a second or third shot it’s no longer possible to talk to them about work! Russians love vodka because it really does warm you up and because it goes so well with Russian cuisine. When you drink vodka, you should do it with some fatty foods, even if it’s just sour cream! You can have boiled or fried potatoes with it, bread, sausage, cheese, or oily fish. There are numerous snacks that are not at all expensive and that’ll prevent you from getting drunk”.

There are Other Secrets, Too

Many Russians, before sitting down to their New Year feast, consume a raw egg. They say that it’s the best way of making sure that one will last the whole evening and leave the table sober. However, doctors are categorically opposed to this method because raw eggs are the easiest way of contracting salmonella. If you have concerns on that score too, you can just drink a tablespoonful of sunflower oil. On his first visit to Moscow, Santiago Fonseca from Mexico made some thorough preparations for the New Year party he was going to have with his girlfriend’s friends, fearing that otherwise he wouldn’t be able to make it through the night. He said, “I’d read that fat prevents alcohol absorption, so, I drank several spoons of oil and ate two potatoes. It’s hard to believe it, but I remained sober… even having drunk a whole bottle of rather dubious vodka!” Having said that, it’s also very important not to overeat and not to eat too many starchy and sweet foods, despite the fact that fat helps you to stay sober, as they generate more work for the liver and pancreas, making it more difficult for them to process alcohol.

Vodka Etiquette and How to Avoid a Hangover

Anastasiya Knezhevich sells numerous varieties of vodka at her shop and spends a lot of time explaining to foreigners how people consume vodka in Siberia, where she’s originally from, saying, “I think the problem with foreigners is that they mix vodka in cocktails and sip vodka slowly. I keep telling them that you have to drink vodka in one go and exhale through the nose and not the mouth. That’s why Russians are capable of drinking a lot of vodka and remaining alive afterwards”.

According to Minayev, at a Russian dinner party it’s important for a foreigner to show that they’re a friendly person. To that end, it’s necessary to drink the first two or three shots, after which it’s possible to take a break to save energy for more to come. He observed, “When a foreigner is ready to have another shot of vodka, they need to take the bottle and fill the glasses of all those present. Once, I was at one dinner where a Japanese guest kept pouring vodka only into his own glass. It was so tactless that nobody wanted to invite him ever again. Incidentally, he never managed to sign the important contracts that he had come to Moscow to sign”.

If none of the recommendations above proves useful in your case, here is another piece of advice from RBTH… first thing the next morning, drink a glass of salty water or pickle brine. This is the most effective ancient remedy against hangovers and headaches… many Russians swear by it.

31 December 2014

Mariya Grigoryan

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.com/arts/2014/12/31/how_to_drink_vodka_42725.html

READ MORE:

The basics of the best Russian drinking toasts

Russian hangover remedies: Cucumbers, caviar, and a bath

The top 10 requirements for a stereotypical Russian New Year

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Sputnik International Presents… Happy New Year 2015: Highlights from Around the World

00 new year 01. new york ny times square. 04.01.14

Revellers engulfed by confetti in Times Square just after midnight during New Year’s Eve festivities in New York (Borough of Manhattan. New York County) NY USA.

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00 new year 02. new york ny times square. 04.01.14

Revellers play in spent confetti along a street after midnight in Times Square in New York.

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00 new year 03. paris france. 04.01.14

People gather on the Champs Élysées in Paris (Département de Paris. Région Île-de-France) FRANCE before celebrating the New Year.

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00 new year 04. paris france. 04.01.14

In wishing their relatives and friends a good year and good health, the French say, “Bonne année et bonne santé”.

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00 new year 05. hong kong china. 04.01.14

An old-fashioned Chinese junk sails in Victoria Harbour before the New Year fireworks in Hong Kong PRC on 31 December 2014.

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00 new year 06. Korea. 04.01.14

People gather to celebrate the New Year at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju (Gyeonggi Province), north of Seoul (Special City of Seoul) ROK.

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00 new year 07. Korea. 04.01.14

On New Year’s Day in Korea, believers try to recall their past lives and go to temples to pray for happiness. They also light candles which symbolise enlightened souls.

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00 new year 08. japan. 04.01.14

The Japanese pay special attention to New Year food traditions. They prepare dishes of seaweed, sweet potato, soybeans, and fish cakes. Another cherished custom is giving money to children in special envelopes, known as otoshidama.

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00 new year 09. japan. 04.01.14

Men ride on a portable Shinto shrine (mikoshi) as local people carry it into the sea during a festival to wish for calm waters in the ocean and good fortune in the New Year in Oiso (Naka District. Kanagawa Prefecture. Greater Tokyo Area. Kantō Region) JAPAN, west of Tokyo proper.

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00 new year 10. iceland. 04.01.14

Icelanders celebrate the holiday with their families and set off fireworks at midnight, ushering in the New Year. Musical shows, bonfires, and feasting are also very popular.

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00 new year 11. st petersburg russia. 04.01.14

Skating rink on Palace Square, St Petersburg (Federal City of St Petersburg. Northwestern Federal District) RF.

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00 new year 12. ded moroz russia. 04.01.14

The main character of Russian New Year is Ded Moroz (Grandpa Frost), a wizard who brings presents to children.

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00 new year 13. copacabana beach rio de janeiro brazil. 04.01.14

Brazil celebrates New Year with parties and music festivals on the famous Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State. Southeast Region); oceans of people dressed in flashy and colourful clothes flood city streets.

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00 new year 14. brazil. 04.01.14

Brazilian fishermen try to entice the Mother of Waters by going out in their boats with gifts of rice, flowers and even jewellery… which they throw into the sea.

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00 new year 15. rome italy. 04.01.14

Italians observe an interesting food custom on New Year. When midnight comes, they eat lentil stew, one spoonful for each stroke of the bell. They believe that brings good fortune.

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00 new year 16. big ben london england uk. 04.01.14

Scarcely has New Year arrived, than the English rush to open their back doors to see the old year off. Next, they ask the first dark-haired man they encounter to come in through the front door. Guests should bring salt, coal, and bread, symbolising having enough food, money, and warmth for the next year.

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New Year Celebrations have just taken place all over the globe, engulfing the seven billion people of our planet in a spirit of joy and pleasure, granting them hope for a better year ahead, and leaving behind bad memories and misfortune from the last one. Let’s cast a glance on New Year celebrations from the sun-kissed beaches of Brazil to the shining skies of Iceland. “May your days be as glittery as diamond, may your friends be as good as gold, may your heart stay as green as emerald, and may your soul remain as pure as pearl”. The French celebrate the New Year with a traditional feast that includes crepes, foie gras, and, of course, champagne. When the clock strikes midnight, the French exchange kisses. New Year is clearly the most adored festival of the Chinese calendar, with Hong Kong residents heading to temples to pray for good fortune, followed by pyrotechnic shows and mythological spectacles which light up the city. Koreans celebrate the New Year twice… on 1 January, like the rest of the world, and on the first day of the Korean lunar calendar. In both cases, it’s a major traditional family holiday when Koreans visit their parents and remember their ancestors. In Russia, New Year is the happiest and most cherished family holiday. Ice skating is one of the main activities during the winter holidays.

1 January 2015

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/photo/20150101/1016453014.html

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