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New Year Archives - Kidding Herself

How to celebrate New Year in Russia with Ded Moroz and Snegurochka

Some kids at school, I told Mama recently, don’t believe in Ded Moroz! They said he’s our parents!

Oh? Mama responded, non-committally.

I can’t believe how stupid they are. Not believing in Ded Moroz. The very idea!

Pffft. Said Mama, clearly agreeing with me.

In fact, I not only believe in Ded Moroz, but also in Father Christmas, who Mama says is probably a cousin, or possibly a brother. It’s confusing otherwise. That they come on different days and in different ways.

Ded Moroz, you see, is the Russian winter festival magical being who brings presents.

Ded Moroz, arms outstretched, stands in front of a decorated tree. He has a long embroidered blue fur trimmed robe, a blue hat, felt books and holds a large white staff. He has a white beard.

But not at Christmas, at New Year.

And there are some other differences.

As we all know, in the west Santa was invented by Coca Cola, but in Russia, Ded Moroz was invented by Stalin.

Well, sort of. Ded Moroz existed before that.

Originally he was a pre-Christian winter smith god called Morozko. And not entirely tame. There is talk of him kidnapping children so that their parents would give him presents.

By the 19th century he was a fairy tale character.

We went to see a play about him, in fact. It turned out that he lived in a chilly underground world you could reach by falling into a well in the middle of winter (as you do).

If you were nice to him and to the other inhabitants of this strange land, Ded Moroz would deck you out in beautiful (and expensive) jewels and warm furs that you could take home to your unpleasant stepmother and step-sister. If you were a spoilt brat, trying to reproduce this feat while utterly missing the point, those jewels would turn out to be quick to melt ice shards when you got them home.

A stage with a winter scene including the character Morozko

(Mama thinks this retelling has itself been cleaned up. There was no mention of the stepmother getting her husband to leave his daughter in the forest in inadequate clothing in the middle of the winter to die of exposure, or that Ded Moroz froze the step-daughter to death for insolence, for example. Can’t think why not).

In the 20th century, Ded Moroz was supressed.

But having cancelled folklore and Christmas along with religion, the Soviets discovered that this was quite unpopular.

And so a careful rebranding of New Year eventually took place. And who better to take over from baby Jesus the important job of cheering everyone up in the middle of a seven month snow-fest than a crochety wizard?

Obviously we couldn’t have him look too much like a plagiarised Santa, though.

So he is (usually) dressed in blue. His robes are long, and decorated with rich embroidery (and fur, obviously. It’s damn cold in Russia in winter). And he has a staff (with or without a knob on the end). He rides about in a troika, a sled pulled by three horses. He even wears Russian felt boots, called valenki.

Russian winter felt books called valenki, which have been decorated with sparkles and sequins and similar

This ethnic branding has been emphatically reconfirmed in more modern times with the increasing emphasis on Slavic traditions in any relevant celebration. Like Maslenitsa.

There is also no sneaking down chimneys. He is quite happy to turn up at your door at midnight or thereabouts on the 31st with a sack of presents and his granddaughter, Snegurochka the snow maiden. Who is borrowed from another fairy tale where blah blah blah, and then she melted to death.

A woman dressed as Snegurochka the snow maiden stands in the dark, all lit up

Ded Moroz still expects kids to earn their reward though. Children need to recite a poem or sing a song in exchange for a present.

Mama, who is not Russian, came to an arrangement with Ded Moroz a while ago that this was not going to happen in her house, so the gifts arrive under the tree in what she considers to be the correct mysterious manner. Albeit on New Year’s Eve. So when we wake up to eat a giant meal at around midnight after a bit of a pre-celebration disco nap, there they are! Miraculous!

Of course, we also get presents from Father Christmas on British Christmas Eve. But he limits himself to a reasonably sized whatever can be stuffed into a reasonably-sized sock.

Mama says she and Papa have spent quite a lot of effort, usually, on tracking down interesting things for us for not one, not two, but three gift-giving holidays (Russian Christmas is on the 7th January), and she is absolutely buggered if some old geezer with a beard is going to steal all their thunder.

Inflatable Ded Moroz, in red, and Snegurochka, in blue.

Anyway.

Apparently you can visit Ded Moroz at his home, which is astonishingly conveniently situated a couple of hours outside of Moscow in the town, Veliky Ustyug. As discovered by Moscow Mayor Yuri Lushkov in the 90s.

But there’s no real need if you are in Russia over the holiday period. He and Snegurochka will be absolutely everywhere, and under the tree to boot. Putting carved wooden representations of Ded Moroz there is a tradition.

A carved wooden figure of Ded Moroz the Russian Santa

Or, in Soviet times (or now, because nostalgia), papier mache ones.

Papier mache Ded Moroz figures from Soviet Russia

(Top Russian souvenir tip there by the way).

You can go to a Yolka, a special festive performance for children. There will be a play, but there will also be games, dancing and audience participation*.

We went to a very big one at Crocus City Hall, one of the bigger modern theatre and performance spaces in Moscow, which had a full sized indoor fun fair in what Mama is going to call the foyer, but is actually seven hundred large halls of activities. This made it a bit more worth the trek out of the centre to get to it.

A large indoor fun fair, with decorations and rides
Seats in a theatre auditorium raked down towards a stage which a large decorated tree and festive characters including Ded Moroz

They also have a Yolka performance at the Kremlin each year (there’s publicly accessible theatre inside the Kremlin, didn’t you know? Also good for ballet).

But frankly every single theatre, museum, park, New Year/ Christmas market, shopping mall and similar will have some kind of yolka-esque event going on, and some will even be free. There isn’t really a tradition of grottos. There’s just a really big party instead.

A man dressed as Ded Moroz stands in front of a large real decorated tree

Or you can go to a gala ice skating performance at places like the Luzhniki sports stadium. Ded Moroz is bound to show up.

Or enter a kindergarten. Definite Ded Moroz appearances there.

I mean, I can’t promise these people are all the real Ded Moroz and Snegurochka. 2000 actors just turned up in Ryzan for the annual fake Ded Moroz and Snegurochka parade, for example. These impostors are what get the rumours about non-existence started if you ask me.

The face of a woman dressed as Snegurochka the snow maiden. She is looking down and concentrating on something out of the photo.

But I recommend being polite, and getting your best poem dusted off just in case.

*Do NOT confuse this with a pantomime. It’s a lot… purer. Says Mama, who is not planning to explain the jokes we don’t get if we ever go to a proper British one again.

This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about the influence of fly agaric on the iconography of Father Christmas.

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Celebrate at the New Year and Christmas tree decorations factory in Klin, Russia

In the small town of Klin in Russia it is forever New Year, at least it is in the Museum of New Year Tree Ornaments, attached to the factory that produces them in Klinskoye Podvorye.

A number of New Year and Christmas tree ornaments hang on a tree

Or, if you prefer, the Museum of Christmas Tree Decorations, the difference being almost indistinguishable in Soviet Russia, at least as far as the secular aspect of Christmas goes. Like decorated fir trees.

Delicate, handmade glass ornaments have long been a feature of yolkas (the Russian word for New Year/ Christmas trees), and every family may well have their own set of idiosyncratic baubles, although good taste might have overtaken the ones they actually put on display.

Vintage glass tree ornaments, mostly in the shape of stars

So if you wonder around any flea market, you can pick up genuine vintage ones, and last year, there was a display in GUM of the collection that a famous TV presenter here has amassed over the years by doing just that.

Mama’s personal favourite of Papa’s own collection is the pickled onion. Shame that small children and then a kitten who climbed the tree once a day means that she tends to stick to the hand-painted wooden ones when the festive season swings round these days.

But when she was offered the chance to tour one of the more famous factories where these tree decorations are actually made, she jumped at the chance. And in fact the name of the New Year/ Christmas tree decorations factory in Klin is ‘Yolochka’, in case you were not sure what its focus really is.

That said, I think the tour at Yolochka is more of an experience than a factory visit.

There are dressed up characters who get you in the mood, tell you all about glass, tell you all about the history of glass making in Klin, and tell you all about the history of glass New Year/ Christmas tree ornament making.

A character dressed in a blue onsie covered in coloured circles wearing a curly blue wig on the tree ornament factory tour in Klin Russia

Essentially it seems that what started off as a cottage industry making small colourful glass beads for necklaces, morphed into a cottage industry making long strings of colourful glass beads you could hang on a tree, other iterations of decorations and finally went full on large glass ball blowing, albeit still in a very handcrafted sort of manner.

A seated woman in a long ornate red and gold frilly dress and an overdecorated hat explains the origins of the Klin glass factory while seated in a replica wooden peasant's house.

The Yolochka New Year/ Christmas tree decorations factory in Klin was the first large commercial production facility in Russia, in fact.

At this point on the tour, Mama was delighted that we got shepherded into a room to watch actual crafstswomen blow some glass.

Mama was grumpy that she wasn’t allowed to take pictures at this point. She also wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the women in the next room who were painting the resulting New Year/ Christmas baubles.

Tree ornamentsin various stages of being painted at Yolochka factory in Klin

It was very cool though.

Yes, the word ‘factory’ does imply a certain mechanical automation of the process. But in fact, although there is clearly a production line in the sense that it’s a different person who blows the glass to the one who paints it, they really are not joking when they call it handmade.

In case you are wondering, among the most difficult to blow are the samovar shaped baubles, because they require you to be able to get three bubbles out of one glass form.

At the end of the tour they have a display of baubles and other tree ornaments painted by some of the more renowned tree ornament artists.

Nine hand painted Russian glass baubles with variouus winter scanes from around Klin in Russia, including a statue of Tchaikovsky on a bench.

Luckily for you, she was allowed to get the camera out again when we got onto the displays of New Year/ Christmas tree ornaments through the ages. And of course, since these are mostly Soviet ones, there are some really fabulous space themed ones.

A selection of vintage Russian space themed tree ornaments, including cosmonauts and space rockets

No, I have no idea how Yolochka does the cosmonaut shaped ones, the tree shaped ones and so on and so forth. Gotta have some secrets, haven’t you?

And finally the last stop on the Museum of New Year/ Christmas Tree Decorations tour is getting to meet Ded Moroz, the Russian Santa analogue! Himself! We held hands, sang the New Year Tree song, and paraded around a truly large, thoroughly decorated tree.

Ded Moroz stands in front of a decorated tree at the New Year and Christmas tree decorations factory in Klin. He is wearing a long blue coat with white patterns and fur trim, and large blue mittens and a white hat. He has a long white beard and outstretched arms, one of which is holding a tall white staff.

In October!

Then it was onto the masterclass of tree ornament painting. Obviously. We covered ourselves in glitter. It was great.

A tree ornament in a green box with the name of the factory, 'Yolochka', on it. The ornament has clearly not been painted by a master.

And Mama was by this time thoroughly primed to buy All The Things in the Yolochka factory shop. Luckily they have a range of stock to suit every budget. Mama recommends looking out for whatever odd animal theme seems to be incongruously conspicuous among the decorations. The Russians look to the other great celebrators of New Year, the Chinese, to add a bit of spice to the festivities. So whatever animal is coming up for Chinese New Year next will have a big presence in the New Year decorations on offer.

This year, the year of the pig gives way to the year of the rat. Mice everywhere you look!

Now, to get to this Museum of Russian Christmas/ New Year Tree Decorations, you will have to leave Moscow, and it’s a good hour’s journey on a fast train. It’s possibly a bit far to go just for this experience. Luckily, Klin is also the location of the Tchaikovsky House Museum. Frankly you really are missing an opportunity if, as well as visiting that, you do not pop over and experience the tour here as well.

Whatever time of the year.

More information

The New Year/ Christmas tree decorations factory in Klin, Yolochka’s website (in Russian).

This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about how to make salt dough decorations.

Address: 141600, Moscow region, Klin, Ulitsa Staroyamskaya, 4

Opening: Every day, 9am – 5.30pm (except 31st December, 1st and 2nd of January).

Admission: Around 500 roubles per person, although it depends how close it is to New Year and whether it is a weekend. Children under six are half price. It’s about 300 roubles extra for a masterclass.

Getting there: You need a train from the Leningradsky train station, found atop the Komsomolskaya metro station on the red and brown lines. If you get a fast, lastochka train you will be in Klin in an hour. Buy return tickets in Moscow if you have children, as concession tickets cannot be bought in Klin and you’ll have to pay full price for your kids to return to the capital. The trains run around every one to two hours, more during peak times. If you get a slow train it will take at least 30 minutes longer. One way tickets for adults will be around 300 roubles. You can easily buy them at the Leningradsky station itself, but don’t lose the rather flimsy paper – it’s what opens he gates to and from the platform, and it will be checked on the train itself.

You can drive (or get a taxi). Head for St Petersburg.

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In Klin it is forever the winter holidays on the tour of the New Year and Christmas tree decorations factory. You can even make your own baubles!
In Klin it is forever the winter holidays on the tour of the New Year and Christmas tree decorations factory. You can even make your own baubles!
Suitcases and Sandcastles

The Moscow New Year Street Party on Tverskaya

‘What, again?’ said my Jaded Big Brother when Mama suggested going into the centre of Moscow to see what was occurring at the Moscow New Year street party at the beginning of January.

By this time we had already thoroughly investigated the winter sports theme on Tverskoi Boulevard. We had wandered down the Arbat, and across Manedzh and Red Square to admire the lights.

We had seen the fairytale arches outside the Bolshoi and walked up Nikolskaya Street to the particularly fabulous set of trees on Lubyanka. We had even been inside Detskiy Mir and GUM, and eaten the obligatory ice cream in each.

What was left?

Well, New Year being the biggest holiday of the year in Russia, a three-day street festival, starting on 31st December and ending on 2nd January. Tverskaya Street, the road leading down to Red Square, was closed off. Stages and other decorative items were erected. Interactive opportunities were dreamed up.

Kremlin and Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Party

Which of course was alongside all the existing stalls and festive lights which were part of the ongoing New Year (and Christmas) celebrations in Moscow.

Mama caught some of the preparations. This tree, and there were a number of them up and down the street, took all day to decorate. Much to Mama’s amusement, the whole operation was enacted by men, but organised by a woman shouting at them through a megaphone. She felt that this was an art installation of unsurpassed satirical accuracy.

Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Festival

And it was all free.

We arrived towards evening, as Mama feels that enjoying winter festivals and their light shows should be done in the dark, if possible.

Of course, in Russia, in winter, that means about starting at about 4pm.

Things you can expect to find at the Moscow New Year street festival?

People wandering around on stilts. Which makes a lot of sense as you can see them above the crowds.

Stilt walkers Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Party

Groups of costumed dancers. You may or may not wish to join in with them. We saw angels. Or possibly snowflakes.

Dancing angels on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Party

Candy canes (not a Russian tradition as such, but hey). Plus band.

Band on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Party

And Mama’s personal favourite, cosmonauts (definitely something Russians get as much mileage out of as possible).

Dancing cosmonauts on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Festival

There were some chill out zones and covered pop up cafes.

Grotto on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow Journey into Christmas Festival
Warming up on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Festival

And stages. Not sure if early evening on the last day meant that the programming had run through all the obvious candidates already, but it turns out that Russian rockabilly is a thing. Mama enjoyed this band, Fire Granny, immensely, and insisted on bopping along.

Incidentally, it was snowing so hard you might actually be able to see it in the photos. This winter has been particularly good value for snowfall, and there is definitely something very fabulous about doing anything at New Year and Christmas accompanied by large fluffy snowflakes.

This did not make things easier for the tightrope walkers operating high above the street about half way down. Genuinely awesome, and they had even worked out how to make falling off part of the act. Luckily.

Tightrope walker on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow Journey into Christmas Festival

We also got a chance to try out tightrope walking for ourselves. Ably assisted by assistants to keep us on the ropes.

Tightrope walking on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Party

And thus we carried on our way, until we got to the real life hockey game at the bottom, and the people swaying gently back and forth on long sticks.

Ice Hockey on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Party
Acrobats on Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Festival

Hugely entertaining way to spend a few hours during the New Year holidays, and just goes to show why, if you want to spend New Year outside of your own country, you should definitely consider Moscow.

And for your convenience the whole festival is actually called ‘the Journey into Christmas’ because Christmas in Russia comes at the end of the winter holiday break on 7th January rather than the beginning. It’s good marketing for non-Russians, at least for those who arrive before December 25th, especially as many of the things Russians do for New Year, other countries do for Christmas.

Unicorn and Tverskaya Street for the Moscow New Year Street Party

As for the Moscow New Year street party, Mama recommends starting at the top end, near Pushkinskaya Square. No particular reason, except that it’s downhill, and you can finish up at the fair on Red Square that way. Or go ice skating.

Either way, it’s definitely something we recommend if you are in town at the right time.

More information

This is the Moscow city government’s festival page (in English).

This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about constructing the perfect playlist for a party.

Getting there: Pushkinskaya (purple line), Chekovskaya (grey line) or Tverskaya (green line) stations will drop you at the top of Tverskaya Street, and Okhotniy Ryad (red line), Ploshard Revolutsiy (dark blue line) and Teatralnaya (green line) stations will see you at the bottom.

Opening: The street party generally runs from 31st December to 2nd January, and the Journey into Christmas festival starts mid December and goes on until the second week in January.

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29 Reasons to Spend New Year in Moscow, Russia

Do you experience a flat sensation as soon as 25th December is over? Find yourself locked in a post-Christmas stupor of purposeless chocolate eating and soup making? Looking forward to going back to work on the 2nd January?

The solution to these problems is simple – spend New Year in Moscow.

Light tunnel New Year street decoration in Moscow

The Soviets banned Christmas along with religion, and repurposed certain Christmas traditions for 31st December. They also changed the calender, and that meant that New Year falls before Orthodox Christmas. As a result, New Year is the biggest celebration of the year in Russia.

And includes decorated trees.

Christmas and New Year trees in Moscow

Lots and lots of decorated trees.

Decorated trees in GUM Moscow for New Year

It  combines not only the same private family eatathon and present giving binge every Christmas-celebrating family will recognise, but also a very public festival, which sees the Moscow streets decorated to the max.

Christmas and New Year market on Red Square Moscow

And very little of it has anything to do with enticing you into the shops to spend all of your money.

GUM and Central Childrens Store Detskiy Mir at New Year in Moscow

Well, maybe some of it.

Either way, instead of everyone lying around wondering what day it is and when the bins will be collected, the week before New Year is when peak anticipation, preparation and goodwill to all men is happening in Moscow. You know that happy feeling you get in the run up to 25th? Totally kicking off for anyone in Moscow for New Year just as you are wondering if it was all worth it.

New Year Decorations Moscow

Even if you do not get invited to someone’s house to consume more salad and champagne than you thought possible in the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve, there is always the option of getting outside and enjoying the fireworks. Firework displays take place not just next to the Kremlin or Red Square, but (this year) in over twenty parks around the capital of Russia.

Giant bauble New Year in Moscow

They stagger it too. Some displays start at 12 midnight on the nose, and some allow you to watch the president’s address on TV, finish your dinner, bundle the kids into a whole bunch of clothes and saunter outside to catch the booms bang whee wizzzes at 1am. If you think Hogmanay is a big deal, you haven’t been in Moscow on New Year’s Eve.

Nikolskaya Ulitsa for New Year in Moscow

And the 1st to the 7th January, when Orthodox Christmas takes place, is a state sponsored holiday. This year, for example, there’s a three-day street party of even more decorations, performances, food stalls and closed streets to add to the already extensive pedestrianisation of the city centre.

Pushkin Cafe at New Year in Moscow

There’s an ice festival; many of Moscow’s museums and art galleries will be free; you can see New Year children’s shows, called yolkas after the traditional New Year tree; meet up with the Russian Santa, Ded Moroz and his granddaughter Snegurochka; go to the Bolshoi or similar for New Year ballets such as the Nutcracker; and boggle at New Year ice skating extravaganzas in Moscow’s stadiums, featuring ice skating stars as well as outragous costumes.

Street performers at New Year in Moscow

You can go ice skating yourself as well – some of Moscow’s most fabulous public spaces have outdoor skating rinks set up. Including Red Square and Gorky Park.

And on Red Square there is also a Christmas/ New Year market.

Christmas and New Year market on Red Square Moscow

There may even be snow, although sadly this is the one thing you can’t put your money on any more. It’s well above zero at the moment this year and the snow has melted.

On the upside, this means you can get some great shots for Instagram of the Moscow’s fabulous decorative New Year lights gleaming their reflections in the puddles.

Plus, you know that debate about whether to wish people a Happy Christmas or Happy Holidays? Totally a non-issue for this inclusive secular holiday. C Noviim Godom works for everyone.

Spending New Year in Moscow. You know it makes sense. Get planning.

And if you want more ideas about what to do, here is THE guide to Moscow for first time visitors.

More information

Moscow city’s official site. In English.

This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about celebratory meals in Russia (which Mama wrote!).

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29 reasons to spend New Year in Moscow. In pictures.

The Great Moscow New Year Lights Walk 2015

There are, I am finding, one or two differences between Moscow and London.

Take Christmas decorations. In London, the most interesting ones are done by the people trying to entice you into their shops to buy their wares and in Moscow, there aren’t any.

This is because in the Soviet Union, under the communists, Christmas was banned. Or at least energetically discouraged. So, in an interesting reversal of what the Christians did to the Pagan midwinter festivals, everybody celebrates New Year instead in a way which is almost entirely like the Christmases of elsewhere. Christmas trees? Are New Year trees. But otherwise largely indistinguishable. Father Christmas? Is Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), ably assisted by his granddaughter, Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden). Traditional television that everybody looks forward to? It’s no Doctor Who Christmas Special, but it exists. Family dining on an epic scale? Yes, got that, although it happens at midnight on 31st. And yes, everybody suffers through the leftovers for the next ten days too. There are even traditional sporting events the day after the big day. Swimming in ice holes mostly. Natch.

So what you are seeing when you walk around Moscow in the second half of December, are actually New Year decorations. Any insidious Christmas creep – the markets which spring up tend to be called Christmas markets, which is not surprising as they are as much of a blatant rip off of the same European phenomenon as they are in the UK – is dampened by the fact that the Orthodox celebration of the birth of Jesus is on 7th January. It’s fighting a losing battle is expecting people to delay gratification that long.

It’s not all pillaging from the West though. Mama was bemused by the sheer number of monkey themed items in all the shops this year until she remembered that Russians like to add whatever the animal from the Chinese horoscope is coming up next to their celebrations, and to hell with the fact that the respective New Years don’t line up at all and it’s a different belief system altogether.

When you receive a Christmas card from Mama with a cavorting rat, cow or dragon in a Santa hat covered in snow on the front, do not be surprised.

Of course, all this means that my Superb Big Brother and I get three separate days of being given presents, as Mama and Papa try to cover all their cultural bases in one marathon blow out. Every now and again being bi-cultural has its advantages. For us children.

Anyway.

Following the wild success of our London Christmas Window Scavenger Hunt in 2014, Mama thought it would be fun to get into the Christ… New Y… seasonal spirit by seeing what central Moscow had to offer, especially now that most of it is pedestrianised and considerably less overflowing with manic Christmas shoppers given that the centre of Moscow is mostly home to extremely high-end retail emporiums, and also given that Moscow tends to go in for bread and circuses on an epic scale for every public holiday of note.

 

2016 lights at Lubyanka in Moscow
There are a number of these in various locations around Moscow. In case you forget what year comes after 2015 I guess.

Christmas Market Moscow 2015
One of the many bijou Christmas markets on every available square in the centre of Moscow.

Christmas trees and slush Moscow 2015
Moscow is going for a record in the number of Christmas trees (New Year trees) ever displayed by any capital city. Ditto, slush.

Yolka Christmas Tree Lubyanka Moscow
It’s a good thing much of Russia is still covered in forest. This is just a roundabout usually.

Yolka Christmas Tree on Manezh Moscow
This is the main Christmas tree (NEW YEAR TREE) on Manezh Square, right next to the Kremlin and behind Red Square.

Dancing at New Year Moscow Lights 2015
Dancing is also popular at New Year.

Dancing at New Year Moscow Lights Kissing 2015
As is, I dunno, kissing.

Giant Bauble on Manezh in the snow Moscow
The giant bauble has landed.

Giant blue bauble Manezh Moscow
It changes colour.

Giant multicoloured bauble on Manezh Moscow
Lots of different colours.

Historical Museum from the bauble Moscow
You can go inside the bauble and photograph the Historical Museum.

New Year floating lights Moscow
Flying saucers are also a traditional part of any Russian New Year celebration. The melting snow, not so much, but we sure enjoyed paddling in it.

Fairytale Castle Lights Moscow
This fairytale castle is in pieces all over Moscow. Mama recommends you check out the Bolshoi, which we didn’t due to having gotten damp in the rivers of melting snow and needing to be taken home by this point.

Street of stars New Year Moscow
This street is just pretty.

TsUM window New Year Moscow
TsUM gets into the spirit of Christmas (or New Year).

Russian Army Shop Window New Year Moscow
As does, and I kid you not here, the Red Army’s fashion outlet.

Hotel National Moscow New Year Window
The windows of the Hotel National are Mama’s favourite though.

Inside Detskii Mir Moscow at New Year
This is the inside of the former Detskii Mir (Children’s World), now the Central Children’s Shop (not the same ring to it – they should never have sold off the name). Fun to wander around, difficult to prise us out of without a tantrum.

Inside Gum at New Year Moscow
GUM, on the other hand, has a giant satsuma hanging from the roof.

2016 Lights Moscow Tverskaya
Hello 2016, here we come!

2016 Lights Moscow
Happy New Year! See you all again soon!

And finally…

This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about how Mama will be celebrating.

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