I am gong to post a little about our New Year experience. As some of you may have gathered my wife is Belarussian and we have quite a few Russian friends. In the former Soviet Republics the dominant religion is Russian Orthodox and Christmas is not the biggest holiday of the year. It seems that New Years is the big holiday for them, and not only that but the Russian Orthodox Christmas is January 7 (not December 25, which I think stems from the fact that they have kept with the Julian Calendar instead of the standard Gregorian Calendar for some religious practices).
I have heard that for New Years people get dressed up in costumes and go from house to house, have large meals, get together with family and friends, and give presents on New Years. Their Christmas (January 7) is more like a subdued Thanksgiving here (as I have been told).
We had some friends over, which totaled approximately 6 people at our house for our New Years celebration, with me being the only native English speaker. =) Tanya and a coworker finished with work at about 23:30 (11:30pm) or so and we went to pick them up getting home with enough time for them to relax a little and prepare to have some fun. The girls did a lot or preparation during the day while I was at work, and did most of the cooking after they finished work.
I spent some time redesigning my church’s website while the cooking was being done. There was not so much I could do to help them cook. I asked a few times, but they firmly had everything in hand.
Once everyone got home and changed we ate a little, drank, and prepared for midnight roll around. Once it did we tried to watch it in from a recording in Belarus via the internet and then watch it live on TV in New York. We all drank and toasted, once we were able to get the bottle open. Following that we all exchanged gifts which was cool. Then we closed the night by watching ‘Save the Last Dance‘ Both my wife and her coworker had danced a lot and they love dance movies. Since there were 2 guys and 4 girls present we certainly weren’t going to be watching a guy movie. Earlier, while the girls were taking care of the cooking and food preparation, the guys were watching ‘The Crow‘ which is a hell of a great movie.
Our New Years was relaxing and quiet, and was spent with good people.