Month: December 2009

Moscow for the Holidays

The most common phrase heard from a Russian friend this time of year is Happy New Year (in Russian, of course)! New Year’s is the biggest holiday celebration in the former Soviet Union. There are Christmas trees galore, but they are referred to as New Year’s trees. A comeback of Christmas is happening, but I’ve seen far more signs and advertisements that wish Happy New Year than Merry Christmas. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Orthodox Christmas one week after New Year’s, so for us Westerner’s it’s a great time–three weeks of Christmas and celebration!

A Writer in Red Square at Christmas
A Writer in Red Square at Christmas
My husband took the picture of me in Red Square a few weeks ago. There’s a lot more snow today, but the tree is there and we look forward to seeing it with a backdrop of fireworks on New Year’s Eve at midnight. Yes, we’re going to take the kids and brave the crowds and cold and spraying bottles of champagne. If I capture any good shots I’ll post them here.

How a Bride Keeps Warm in Moscow
How a Bride Keeps Warm in Moscow
Check out the bride, and check out her fur! Brides are seen everyday of the week, having photos taken around the city at significant monuments and city sights¬†(Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Red Square, various bridges). Another common sight here is–fur. I have never seen so many women in full-length furs. Many have been passed down through families, judging by the styles. In a country with little former access to modern materials (I’m talking for the masses, not the folks living in the bigger cities) it’s easy to understand why fur is the warmest choice. I’ll stick to my Gortex and/or down options, but it’s interesting to see how another part of the world stays warm.

I wish you the warmest New Year ever. May you find Health, Peace, Joy, and Serenity.