Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wrapping the Holiday Season: Russia Celebrates *Old New Year*

It's January 14th and today Russia finishes the holiday season by celebrating the Old New Year. This week, folks will be dismantling their holiday decorations and dumpsters will be full of Christmas trees. But before bidding a heart-felt dos vedanya (до свидания), that is, See you later to this season, please join me for a look around our beloved Rostov-on-Don to see a few decorations from the holidays.

Here comes a family on an outing, bet they've just been to see Father Frost. (Click to enlarge photo.) On the left, they're walking  past the *Kingdom of Furs.* Poster on right *(Congratulations) with the New Olympic Year! Rostov-on-Don. 2013-2014.

In Theater Square, the largest poster in town is probably on this bank building. It's simply massive. Again, *(Congratulations) with the New Olympic Year! Rostov-on-Don. 2013-2014.*

McDonalds is always fun, it's name still recognizable in the Cyrillic Alphabet. Windows are jazzed up with twinkle lights. This McDonald's on Pyshkinskaya Boulevard is a favorite hangout for university students. The free Wi-Fi certainly doesn't hurt! 

In the McDonald's window, *Taste of the Season Spicy* Items are Beef Roll Spicy, Caesar Roll Spicy and Royal DeLuxe Spicy.

Yours Truly with poster for Beeline, a cell phone service provider. Poster says *(Congratulations) with the Upcoming Holidays!*

The Old New Year is a throw-back to the Julian Calendar which Russia abandoned after the Russian Revolution of 1917, if I'm not mistaken, when they switched to the Gregorian Calendar as is used in the west. Oh, but to keep things interesting, the Russian Orthodox Church declined to switch to the updated calendar and even today continues with the Julian Calendar which means that they're two weeks behind. So although today is January 14th on the street, step into an Russian Orthodox Church and viola, the calendar spins two weeks in reverse, so that it's January 1st as per the old calendar. Thus the name, the Old New Year. 

What's the purpose of this calendar dance? Granted, there could be a profoundly spiritual reason to someone, somewhere. Or perhaps the Old New Year simply provides folks another opportunity to celebrate. And the Russian folk, bless their dear souls, are quite fond of celebrating. The traditional fare for Old New Year is vareniki and most certainly across Russia today, women folk have been busily mashing potatoes, rolling dough, filling and serving these little potato-filled dumplings. You might enjoy a favorite blog post about varenkiki, Here's to a Bean in Your Dumpling!

More about the Old New Year:

Vareniki or not, wishing you and yours a very blessed official end of the holiday season!

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