Archive for December, 2016

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New Year is the most beloved and expected holiday in Russia, which is more popular than Christmas. Some traditions that all Russians follow at this time seem strange for foreigners, however, if you are planning to celebrate New Year in the most mysterious country, you should know at least the main ones.
Big night from 31 December to 1 January.

The celebrations begin on 31 December
In the last day of the year you need to clean your home, decorate the tree (if you haven’t done this yet), cook A LOT of food, choose a fancy outfit, prepare the dining table, decorate your house, check and pack all the presents, dress up and be beautiful, fresh and smiling until the new year. This is the task for a special operative group of FBI or an ordinary Russian woman.
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Royal dinner for New Year’s Eve.
For New Year celebrations a standard Russian family cooks enough to feed an army. Usually they have a few salads with plenty of mayonnaise, some cold and hot starters, one or two main courses and a cake. The main fruit for New Year is tangerine – seems like Russia is flooded with them from December to January. There is also lots of alcohol, so if on 1 January you wake up with your face in the salad, that means the celebration was brilliant!
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No New Year without Champaign.No New Year without Champaign.
The most traditional drink for New Year’s Eve is Champaign. This tradition originates from the 1950s, when the government decided to demonstrate its support to people and announced that every Soviet family will have a bottle of Soviet Champaign for New Year celebration. Since then everyone drinks Champaign, even if normally they don’t like it. You should make a wish at midnight while the clock on the Kremlin’s tower is ringing, write it down on a piece of paper, burn it, throw the ashes into your glass of Champaign and drink it up. If you are quick enough, your wish will come true!
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New Year Tree.
Just like in Western countries it is traditional to decorate the Christmas tree, in Russia we decorate New Year Tree. Actually, it used to be Christmas tree before the revolution in 1917, and after that the atheistic Soviet government substituted Christmas with New Year. Everything is done identically to the Christmas decorations in the West – but a week later.
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Paper snow flakes
You will not see this anywhere except Russia. We cut beautiful and delicate snow flakes out of paper and put them on every possible surface. Most common place is windows and mirrors, and this indeed creates the feeling of a coming holiday!
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Congratulations from the President
Most Russians celebrate New Year at home with their family. What do they normally do there? Watch TV! It is surprising how we are not tired of watching the same movies and songs over and over again every single year. But the culmination of this epic TV marathon is the New Year congratulations from the President broadcasted just a few minutes before midnight. The most patriotic citizens listen to in standing on their feet with a mandatory glass of Champaign in their hand.
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Old New Year.
This is probably the most weird concept of the whole holiday period. After the revolution in 1917 Russia moved to the Western Gregorian calendar from the Julian one. However, everyone remembers the date of the New Year according to the Julian calendar, which comes a couple of weeks later – on 14 January by the Gregorian calendar. For us this is another good reason to celebrate, as there is never too much of a holiday!
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Christmas greetings from St Petersburg! This

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This world cannot live without wonders. Surprisingly, it is harder for us to believe in ourselves than in a fairy tale. Every day we seem to be playing roles in a performance of an unknown author, who must be laughing at us, but still gives us hope for tomorrow. So let us never lose this hope and believe in the better tomorrow! May the light of street lamps illuminate your way, as the snowflakes will be sparkling like stars on the road. May this light be within your heart and give warmth to your family and everyone surrounding you. Merry Christmas!!!

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There are lots and lots of picturesque places in the Northern capital of Russia, however, there are views that are more popular than others. If you don’t have photos with them, no one is going to believe that you’ve been to St Petersburg. Here are some spots that you will definitely want a picture of:
Peter and Paul’s Fortress. Being the very heart and the very beginning of St Petersburg, this is quite a remarkable place. The spire of the Peter and Paul’s Cathedral is the highest point of the city centre and one of the landmarks. The typical postcard picture is the cathedral spire caught between the two halves of the Palace Bridge going up. Have a night walk and see if you can get such a photo.

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Savior on the Spilled Blood. This is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in St Petersburg, and also one of the most “Russian” construction in this very European city. This church looks like a stone flower, and its other peculiarity is that it is built right on the canal. When you look at it, it seems like the building is floating. So the program view is the canal embankment, leading to the cathedral.

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Palace Square. You cannot possibly visit St Petersburg without taking a picture of its main square and the building with the longest façade in Europe – the General Staff Building, which was recently restored and is now housing the Impressionist collection of the Hermitage. Make sure the central arch of the building is right in the middle of your photo, and the Alexander’s Column in the centre of the square divides the shot into two equal parts – proportion is the key to harmony!

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St Isaac’s Cathedral. This is the fourth biggest cathedral in Europe, so there is absolutely no chance you can miss it. It is photographed from all possible angles, in all seasons and at all times of the day, so there are millions of pictures with this view. The most popular one would probably be the shot made from the St Isaac’s square, from under the monument to Nicholas I – look for the horseman in the centre.

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Bank bridge. This is not only a beautiful and popular tourist spot, but also one of the “magic” places of St Petersburg. If you wish to have financial growth, make your wish between the golden-winged griffons, and they will fly to fulfill it as soon as they can. As a bonus, you can take a postcard picture with the bridge, which has already become one of the symbols of St Petersburg.

DENTAL HORRORS OF THE RUSSIAN THRONE

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Nothing surprising that even the members of the imperial family were helpless and lost facing different diseases, which sometimes were rather peculiar. However, even in this very special field they occasionally were quite initiative and tried to cure illnesses by their own efforts. For instance, the Emperor Peter I was such a multi-talented ruler, that he attended medical lectures, and was particularly fond of pulling out teeth. By the way, the teeth were not necessarily holed, sometimes they were absolutely fine.

The desire to learn more and more new things made the Emperor to be the first in the line for new skills and information. The fearless Peter liked practicing the new things he learnt straight away, especially those he was taught abroad. He was particularly glad to learn dentistry, and as soon as someone of his associates complained about a toothache, he grabbed his box with medical instruments (which he always carried everywhere) and pulled the tooth out.
Very often good teeth also suffered from Peter’s enthusiasm. You can still see the proof of it in the Kunstkamera museum, where the dreadful instruments and the collection of teeth, pulled out by the imperial hand.

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