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1 January — Happy New Year!

This is what people say to each other this time of the year throughout the world. This is what we say to you! Happy New Year!

What is so special about celebrating New Year in Russia? Here New Year usually associates with tangerines, Champaign, salad, presidents speech at five minutes till midnight on December 31, striking of a clock in one of the Moscow Kremlins towers, and fireworks afterwards.

Note that New Year in Russia is the main national holiday. It is considered such not only by regular citizens, but by the Russian government also, which decided to cut the number of days spent on other holidays and added a few more days off to the New Year holiday.

A bit about traditions. On this holiday people put up firs in their houses and decorate them with tinsel, ornaments, and lights just like Christmas Tree in Catholic countries. The first New Years tree incidentally appeared in Russia on New Years Eve 1700 when New Year was celebrated on January 1 for the first time in Russian history. Up till then new year started on September 1.

In Russia the host of the New Year is Ded Moroz (Father Frost), he is always accompanied by Snegurochka, his granddaughter. She helps him deliver the presents and entertain children. Ded Moroz comes on the first night of the new year and leaves his presents under the New Years Tree. He is dressed in a red costume, which resembles that of Santa Claus, he has a huge white beard, large bag with presents inside, and a staff. Snegurochka is dressed in light blue coat and usually has a long braid. They live in Veliky Ustyug, Vologda Region, since 1998, earlier they used to live somewhere more to the North, but Moscow Mayor agreed with the Government of Vologda Region that Ded Moroz should live in Veliky Ustyug.

There is a tradition in Russia: while the clock strikes twelve on December 31 people make their wishes, which are supposed to come true during the coming year.

We hope all your wishes come true and this will be a really happy New Year for you! Happy New Year!

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