The LearningRussian.com Team wishes you Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year! We also wish you success in learning
Russian, one of the most difficult languages in the world!
This page is dedicated to the Russian New Year and Christmas
traditions. Here are some useful holiday greetings and their
pronunciation in Russian, information about the history of the
New Year and Christmas celebrations in Russia, some holiday
songs and toasts for a New Year party.
Note 1: The peculiarities of the Russian personal pronouns caused the necessity of mentioning two variants of some words within a sentence: as a rule the word before a slash is related to informal style, after a slash - to more polite, formal style.
Note 2: for convenience of pronunciation the words are divided into syllables, the capitalized syllables are stressed, the apostrophe (') indicates softness of the consonant.
For Russians, there is no holiday more important than the
New Year. It is the first on the calendar and in popularity.
People see the New Year in at midnight on the 31st of
December. They greet the New Year with champagne and listen
to the Kremlin chimes beating 12 o'clock.
Russian Holiday tradition includes a decorated New
Year's tree - ёлка* (fir tree). Children always wait
for Дед Mopoз* (Grandfather Frost), to come and bring
them a present. Grandfather Frost's residence is
situated in Velikii Ustug, the town on the north of
Russia. Grandfather Frost is always accompanied by his
granddaughter Снегурочка* (Snowmaiden) who helps him
distribute the gifts. For the Russians, the New Year is
a family holiday; people think about friends and
relatives. But young people prefer to have the New Year
parties of their own.
Don't be surprised, but at midnight on the 13d of
January people in Russia celebrate Old New Year that
corresponds to January 1st in the Julian calendar, used
in Russia before 1918.
After the Revolution that took place in 1917 year religion
was called as "opium for people" and Christmas was banned
throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations.
So celebrating New Year became a sort of "replacement" for it.
Only after 75 years, in 1992, Christmas became openly observed.
Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th,
in accordance with the old Julian calendar. A lot of people
go to church services on that day. On the Eve of Christmas,
it is traditional for all family members to gather. But,
until now, Christmas is less popular in Russia in contrast to
Britain or the USA, where it is the greatest holiday of the
Note: ёлка (fir tree) is pronounced as "YOL-ka"; translit: yolka Дед Mopoз (Grandfather Frost) is pronounced as "deht ma-ROHS"; translit: Ded Moroz Снегурочка (Snowmaiden) is pronounced as "snee-GOO-rahch-ka"; translit: Snegurochka
New Year: December 31st - January 1st Christmas: January 6th - January 7th Old New Year: January 13d - January 14th
В лесу родилась ёлочка, В лесу она росла, Зимой и летом стройная, Зеленая была.
Метель ей пела песенку: "Спи, елочка, бай-бай! "Мороз снежком укутывал: "Смотри, не замерзай!"
Трусишка зайка серенький Под елочкой скакал. Порою волк, сердитый волк Рысцою пробегал.
Чу! Снег по лесу частому Под полозом скрипит; Лошадка мохноногая Торопиться, бежит.
Везет лошадка дровенки, А в дровнях старичок, [мужичок] Срубил он нашу ёлочку Под самый корешок.
Теперь она, нарядная, На праздник к нам пришла И много, много радости Детишкам принесла
V lesu rodilas' yolochka, V lesu ona rosla, Zimoj i letom strojnaya, Zelenaya byla.
Metel' ej pela pesenku: "Spi, elochka, baj-baj!" Moroz snezhkom ukutyval: "Smotri, ne zamerzaj!"
Trusishka zajka seren'kij Pod elochkoj skakal. Poroyu volk, serdityj volk Rystzoyu probegal.
Chu! Sneg po lesu chastomu Pod polozom skripit; Loshadka mohnonogaya Toropit'sya, bezhit.
Vezet loshadka drovenki, A v drovnyah starichok, [muzhichok] Srubil on nashu yolochku Pod samyj koreshok.
Teper' ona, naryadnaya, Na prazdnik k nam prishla I mnogo, mnogo radosti Detishkam prinesla
Click here to hear the toast pronounced by a native speaker.
2) We are glad to present you another very popular Russian toast. It can be translated into English as follows: "My grand-grandfather said: "I have a desire to buy a house, but I have no opportunity. I have an opportunity to buy a she-goat, but I have no desire". So, let's drink to having correspondence of our wishes and opportunities!"
Russian origin looks like this:
"Мой прадед говорил: "Я имею желание купить дом, но не имею возможности. Я имею возможность купить козу, но не имею желания". Так давайте же выпьем за то, чтобы наши желания совпадали с нашими возможностями!"
"Moj praded govoril: "Ya imeyu zhelanie kupit' dom, no ne imeyu vozmozhnosti. Ya imeyu vozmozhnost' kupit' kozu, no ne imeyu zhelaniya". Tak davajte zhe vyp'em za to, chtoby nashi zhelaniya sovpadali s nashimi vozmozhnostyami!"
"mohy PRA-deht ga-va-REEL:"ya ee-MEH-yoo zhe-LA-nee-yeh koo-PEET' dohm, no neh ee-MEH-yoo vahz-MOHZH-nahs-tee. ya ee-MEH-yoo vahz-MOHZH-nahst' koo-PEET' ka-ZOO, no neh ee-MEH-yoo zhe-LA-nee-ya". tahk VI-p'yehm za to, SHTO-bi NA-shi zhe-LA-nee-ya sahf-pa-DA-lee s NA-shi-mee vahz-MOHZH-nahs-t'a-mee! "
Note: for convenience of pronunciation the words are divided into syllables, the capitalized syllables are stressed, the apostrophe (') indicates softness of the consonant.