How Russians Celebrate New Year | Russia Travel Guide

How Russians Celebrate New Year

Russian New Year Tree

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The Russian New Year is a very special holiday widely celebrated in all post-Soviet countries. As with all things Russian, there's plenty of unique traditions and fun holiday activities. Celebrate this New Year's Eve like a real Russian!

Celebrating New Year: the Russian Way

Learn how Russians celebrate New Year and get inspired to make this year's celebration one to remember. We created a video explaining this holiday and providing an insight into the nuances of preparation:

We are about to take you through what you will need to know step by step to have an authentic Russian New Year festivities.

Russian New Year Kit:

  • Yolka with a star on top;
  • Lot's of home-made dishes, including the Olivier salad;
  • A Classic movie;
  • Champaign at midnight;
  • President's speech.


How to prepare to celebrate the New Year like a Russian? Easy. All you need is "Novogodnaya yolka" (a traditional New Year tree) decorated with toys, garlands, and candies.

Russian Christmas Tree

It is similar to Christmas trees worldwide. However, a proper Russian yolka has one specific attribute: a star at the top.


Start cooking holiday dishes early in the morning on Dec 31. You will need to cook more food than your guests can possibly consume. It's a must! The leftovers can be stored in the fridge, as the Old (!) New Year is just around the corner (the informal holiday celebrated on Jan 13th, according to the Julian calendar).

Russian Olivier Salad

Finally, your New Year's table will not be complete without these three ingredients: herring under a fur coat, Russian Olivier salad, and tangerines. Olivier salad (also known as the Russian salad) is probably the most popular zakuska (appetizer or snack) among Russians all over the world.


Guests should arrive around 8-9 pm, at which time you gather around the table and watch classic Russian movies like The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your Banya!

Movie night in Russia

Many people around the world say that if you want to understand Russians better, you simply have to watch this movie.

The President's Speech

Minutes before the Kremlin clock on Spasskaya tower strikes midnight, listen to the annual president's speech. It is a tradition that gathers people from all ex-USSR territories (about 1/6 of them in total) in front of the silver screens.

President New Years Speech

The president's speech usually doesn't take long and starts 15-20 minutes before midnight.

Happy New Year

While the Kremlin clock beats the final minutes of the year pour champagne in your glass, light sparklers and make a toast to the eventful, lucky and prosperous year to come!

Happy New Year in Russia

To do it like true Russians you will have to learn this short phrase: "S Novym Godom, Druz'ya!"

Celebrating any festivity like a true local is fun in every destination and New Year in Russia is no exception. Are you ready for a truly unforgettable New Year Celebration?