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Be Here for the Lively Russian Winter Festival

From the 25th of December to the 5th of January each year, the Russian Winter Festival combines a number of religious and secular holidays into lively, colorful celebrations. The Russian Winter Festival takes place in a number of cities throughout Russia, with the main locations being Moscow, St. Petersburg, Veliky Novgorod, Kostroma, Vladimir, Tver and Suzdal.

In Moscow the Winter Festival activities are centered in and around Izmailovo Park, which is transformed into a winter wonderland where traditional folk musicians, dancers and performers dressed as popular figures from Russian folklore mingle with visitors in an energizing party atmosphere. The well below zero temperature with snow swirling around is no deterrent to the party-goers. After all, that’s when the warming power of Vodka really comes into play. Visitors to the Russian Winter Festival are encouraged to join in the merry folk dances and games around the New Year Tree and to learn more about Russian traditions, customs and history. World famous singers and performers entertain the crowds, while they enjoy pancakes with caviar and drink tea with bagels honey and jam. A sleigh ride through the winter forest is a Russian tradition that is well worth experiencing.

Central to the celebrations is the mythological Father Frost (Ded Moroz) and his beautiful granddaughter, Snow Maiden (Snegoyrachka). Father Frost generally wears a long red fur-trimmed coat, a fur hat, long boots decorated with silver ornaments, carries a long magical staff and travels in a troika (carriage pulled by three horses). The Snow Maiden, beautifully dressed in a long fur coat, long boots and wearing a Russian kokoshnik (hat decorated with pearls, silk and delicate lace), assists Father Frost with his gift giving duties. In Russian folklore, the Snow Maiden fell in love with a Slavic herdsman, but sadly their love was not meant to last and she tragically perished in the spring when she melted away. Fortunately for the children, however, Snow Maiden somehow manages to re-appear at each Russian Winter Festival, helping Father Frost to hand out much anticipated gifts.

Russia is an intriguing country with a long history and fascinating culture and is proving to be more and more popular as a tourist destination. If you travel to Russia in the winter months, be sure to visit one of the cities that hosts the spectacular Russian Winter Festival – it will be an unforgettable experience.

 



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