Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ukrainian New Year

Midnight madness. It's like this. And this. (These videos were taken on New Year's Eve in Simferopol, which is where we were that night, and just like the rest of the city we went outside at midnight to watch this.)

I remember the typical New Year's Eve from my childhood. We'd stay up until midnight, counting down the hours and minutes, watching Times Square on tv, and then at midnight celebrate the moment, wish everyone a happy new year, maybe use a few tiny firecrackers or sparklers (if they were legal at that moment).....and then call it a night and head to bed.

Meanwhile, here is how D's 9-year-old cousin will remember her holidays in the distant future:

8 PM: Adults have surrounded themselves with large amounts of food and humongous quantities of alcoholic drinks. Pour yourself a drink and let's start eating!

Consumption continues until midnight. Just like in my youth, the children opt to play computer games and the adults have a tv on in the background (a New Year's variety/comedy show). And we're drinking. A LOT. Here's an awesome cocktail for you to try:

Crazy about Ukraine's New Year's Eve Cocktail

Mix a shot of cognac with the coffee granules from instant coffee. 

Stir well. 

Pour Coca-Cola up the the top of the glass (watch out, it will foam up). 


(And PS: I don't like cognac and don't like coffee... 
but this drink is reaaallllly good.)

12 AM: Everyone goes out to set off / view Fireworks. Capital F Fireworks, that's right. We're talking "government use only" heavy duty fireworks, the kind Houston will set off for the 4th of July. Some people shoot things off from their balconies and the ashes rain down on those of us in the parking lot. It's pretty cool to see so much happening at once, because it means the entire community celebrating something together.

There's no kissing at midnight here, like there is back in the states. It's a big deal who you kiss back home- it sets the tone for the rest of the year- and if you have no one to kiss it's kind of sad. In Ukraine I see people toasting instead. I also hear that instead of writing down a list of New Year's resolutions, people will write their wish down on a piece of paper, burn it, put the ashes in a glass of champagne, and drink it exactly at midnight to make their wish come true : ) 

1 AM - 6 AM: Head off to visit more relatives. They seem to think we hadn't eaten in days and stuff us accordingly. I spend most of the time with D's 89 year-old grandmother. Her speaking speed and my understanding speed are approximately the same. She's sharp as a whip, though, and delighted to see me: "I remember you from 2006. You certainly were chubby back then, and you didn't speak a word of Russian!"

All I can fit in my stomach at this point.

We must have consumed at least 20 bottles of champagne together this night!

Meanwhile, in Julian calender news, Old New Year (старый новый год) was yesterday, so Happy New Year all over again!

1 comment:

  1. Katya, thank you for sharing, this is exactly how we celebrate in my country as well, both the current New Year (Jan 1. Gregorian calendar) and the Orthodox Christian New Year (Jan. 15 Julian Calendar). I am envious, I miss it.