Vote Daily
Home » Russian Culture

Russian Old New Year: Laughter, Love and Loaded Dumplings

2. December 2009 by Marie 0 Comments

Old New Year is a beloved old tradition in Russia and its neighbors.


Orthodox Christmas and New Year's both fall in January. The season begins with a nod to western (Gregorian calendar) Christmas on Dec. 25th but really gets cooking on worldwide New Year's Eve, Dec. 31. That's when the tree goes up, and then it's nonstop madness for about ten days.


After all that merry-making, things slow down a little to celebrate the Orthodox, or "Old," New Year on January 14.


Old New Year's is no longer an official holiday. Rather, it's enjoyed as a quieter, family-focused time to gather, eat and have a drink or two -- and some fun!


One feature distinctive in Russian culture is the fortune-telling dumpling. Cooks prepare a meal that includes these boiled dough balls (vareniki) filled with cheese, potatoes, onions or sweet jam. But on Old New Year's the chef adds something more to each dumpling: A surprise that supposedly foretells each diner's future.  Examples:


  • Flour (trials and tribulations to come)
  • Beans (pregnancy)
  • A button (a new outfit)
  • Sugar (a sweet year)
  • Salt (a not-so-sweet year)
  • Pepper (an interesting year)
  • Coin (a prosperous year)


Each region celebrates a little differently. Get to know the lovely ladies on and learn how each celebrates staryi novyi goad!