New Year in Russia is celebrated on January 1, the first day of the Gregorian Calendar. In earlier times, New Year was celebrated in the month of September. Later, this day was forbidden by Czar Peter, the Great. In 1699, a decree was read about counting of years from Birth of Christ since January 1. Thus, this day was declared as a New Year's day in Russia. Since then, New Year became a family holiday for the people of Russia.
Amongst the most popular New Year symbols is a New Year's Tree called Novogodnaya Yolka which is topped with a bright star and decorated with various sweets. Another popularly celebrated New Year tradition is the arrival of Ded Moroz or Father Frost and his granddaughter Snegurochka the snow girl. They bring in New Year presents for the good children and keep them under the New Year's Tree. Children sing a song to make Father Frost happy.
New Year verve can be seen by the family get-together, use of fireworks, delicious meals etc. The most important part of the New Year activities is the sumptuous dinner with light music and champagne. The most important meals include meat, green peas, pickles, mayonnaise, onion, carrots and potatoes.
Russians also follow the tradition of listening to the New Year Speech from the President on New Year's Day. There are some more fascinating traditions followed at the time of New Year and the famous one is the tradition of fortune telling. Many people especially women and unmarried girls are excited to know about their future indulge in this acitivity.
New Year is more of a winter vacation in Russia. Schools remain closed from January 1 till January 13. The main New Year celebrations begin from night of December 31. People usually prefer to spend the day with their friends and family members. Party clubs, hotels and discotheques are all jammed up at the time of New Year. The main New Year celebrations come to an end on January 13th, when the country celebrates the Old - Style New Year. This day is not declared as a public holiday but is celebrated to mark the beginning of the year according to the Julian calendar.