Foreign Fridays Fact: Russia

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As part of Foreign Fridays, we explore a different country each week through its most unusual, amusing and odd facts. If you want your country to appear, then simply get in contact with us either in the comments below or through Facebook or Twitter.

This week it is the turn of Russia:

Much of Eastern Europe is celebrating Old New Year tonight. In Russia,
they traditionally celebrate by drinking vodka and champagne,
and by eating Mandarin oranges.

January is the month of a thousand New Year's Eves. Well, maybe not a thousand, but certainly a few different ones other than the traditional British 31st December, and today is Old New Year. This confusingly named festival is celebrated by Eastern European countries where the Orthodox Church is still prevalent. The reason it falls on January 13th, is due to the use of the old Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the modern calendar.

In Russia, they only changed to today's calendar in 1918, so there is a strong tradition of still celebrating Old New Year. Although January 1st is officially celebrated as New Year, Old New Year is still seen by many as a nostalgic family holiday.

Being Russian, they celebrate with the obligatory vodka, as well as celebratory champagne, and oddly, mandarin oranges. However, they celebrate, it's a pretty fine idea to have two New Year's Eve celebrations. Double the parties, double the food, double the drink, double the fun.

You can see all the previous Foreign Friday blog posts here and the main Foreign Fridays page here

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