I found an great blog post from Russophilia that explains the importance of the New Year in Russia. It's the most magical time of the year there because it not only celebrates the end of an old year and the beginning of the new but also comes complete "with all the same enchantments as our Christmas," with children waiting for presents to appear under a tree from the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus. (December 25th isn't celebrated. Instead the Orthodox Christ-mass is celebrated on Epiphany - January 6th.) As a result Russian New Years cards are of great significance. The blog shares a few lovely ones and I thought I'd post the one that comes straight from a Russian fairy tale, along with some excerpts to explain the significance.
I found this (New Year's) postcard which depicts a character from Russian fairy tales, Emelya, Емеля, the fool who snuggles up to the fireplace and never wants to have to leave to do anything. He gets lucky when we catches a magic pike (fish) in the river and the pike tells him a secret phrase to say to make everything obey his will:
I haven’t quite figured out what this has to do with the New Year, but I think it has to do with hopes of luck and success and a minimum of labor. A wish that in the New Year, may you, like Emelya, have every success and happiness, ability to get out of trouble and avoid punishment for your reckless behavior, may you have a princess fall madly in love with you, and most importantly, may you never have to leave the comforts of your warm fireplace to obtain these things. This is the Russian’s ideal year!
(You can read the whole article HERE.)
That's got to make you smile!
Let me rephrase, from me to you:
May your 2010 be wonderful:
full of magic, joy and plenty of good luck too!
Happy New Year!
New Years Eve fireworks over the Sydney Harbour bridge, Sydney Opera House & Sydney Harbour
I'll be taking a brief blog break but then will be back with plenty of fairy tale news as usual. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy all the Stories of the Season posts (and more) I've put up over Christmas - there's plenty of reading there to catch up on and lots of links to follow.
All the best for the season and a magical New Year.
UPDATE 1/1/01 (12:36PM)
I have just posted my last two "Stories for the Season" posts at the date and time they were originally intended to appear - in the last hours of December 31st, 2009. Please scroll down to see a post on The Little Match Girl and a final 'story roundup' with lots of additional suggestions and links.