Never has there been a New Year's Eve celebration like the one Tyler and I experienced here in Russia. It was full of new traditions, great friends, and lots of rolling around in the snow.
We walked to my friend's apartment in the evening and were immediately welcomed into their warm and festive home.
Last minute preparations were being finished in the kitchen, while the table in the living room was bursting at the seams with delicious dishes.
It's traditional in Russia to have lots of salads at special occasions. My favorite was one called "Pomegranate Bracelet." It was mainly made up of chicken, corn, carrots, and of course, pomegranate seeds. These salads are followed by a meat dish of some sort. In our case it was scrumptious baked chicken and potatoes.
The champaign was poured, toasts were given, and food was devoured.
We watched a quintessential Russian New Year's movie called, The Irony of Fate. I LOVED it and highly recommend it. (English subtitles are helpful for non-Russian speakers.) At midnight, everyone tunes in to watch President Putin give his address after which, as the Kremlin's clock in Moscow strikes midnight on the television, champaign is poured once more, sparklers are lit, and everyone shouts, "с Новым годом!" (Happy New Year!)
Even the cat joined in, but from a safe place.
Before we headed to the square, the Russians sipped on tea and we had cake and tangerines.
At about 1:30 in the wmorning, we made our way to the town's square, along with everyone else in the city. Fireworks went off in every direction, lighting up the sky.
The snow didn't take a break, but it only made i that much more perfect, as the new year began.
We gathered with more friends near the tree and lit sparklers once more.
What followed next was quite unexpected...we went sledding...behind a church, surrounded by fireworks, at what seemed like record speeds.
By the end of it, we were quite literally rolling around in the snow, laughing.
On our way home, we walked through the park.
But some of us couldn't help jumping in the snow just a few more times.
By the time we clambered into bed, it was 4AM. At 4:01, we were asleep.
We slept in the next morning and went for a walk, sure that the streets would be deserted and that everyone would be inside, sleeping or cozied around the tree, seeing what gifts Father Frost had delivered.
We were wrong.
The entire town was out, sledding down by the river.
We looked on, wishing we'd brought a set of sleds ourselves.
Before too long, the sun was setting once more.
Tyler and I had the most memorable New Year's ever, here in Russia. We're going to look back on it with the fondest of memories.
And now we're off again, this time to Prague. I won't be posting anything new this week, but follow along on instagram in the meantime.