We Wish You A Merry New Year!

Wow, what a year it has been!

Katya and I started the year off in Victoria, British Columbia and ended it in Guelph, Ontario. In that time we lived in Edmonton, Alberta for several months, drove 5,000 km across Canada, changed jobs, got thrown out on the street by a psychopath and started a new blog!

I always tie New Year's into Christmas in my mind, being part of the same season. However, the way the season is celebrated in Russia is much more logical despite being so much less traditional. In Russia in times past, the Bolsheviks deemed that Christmas was too steeped in religion to be celebrated by the masses. Because Lenin and his gang of Marxist thugs believed they knew what was best for everybody else, they banned Christmas.**

**Note: The Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar to mark the year, which is 15 days ahead of the Gregorian calendar used by everyone else. As such December 25 in the Julian calendar is January 7 in the the Gregorian. The Bolsheviks moved Russia to the Gregorian calendar at the same time they banned Christmas.

The toiling masses, however, still needed some sort of celebration and Lenin, Trotsky & Co. recognized this, so they fabricated a whole holiday celebration centered around the New Year. They exchanged "Christmas Trees" for "New Year's Trees" and "Christmas Carols" with "New Year's Songs". Dyet Moroz (Grandfather Frost), the Russian Santa Claus, now came to drop off gifts on New Year's Eve. Families were now to gather and eat a big supper and open gifts on New Year's Eve. Lenin's mistake, however, was that he didn't throw traditional New Year's celebrations out the window and as such heavy drinking and partying and making out and fireworks melded into the imported Christmas celebrations, making a Russian New Year's Eve the single greatest party anywhere in the world!

As I wrote in "Mission to Moscow", my first Russian New Year's was one of the best I've ever had. All in all I celebrated three New Year's in Russia. My second involved a four-day trip to ancient Suzdal to view the thousand-year-old monasteries, convents and quaint, colourful little snow-capped houses and spend some time in a true Russian winter wonderland. My third time I spent with Katya's mother and grandmother.

Christmas this year in Canada was wonderful; family and turkey and gifts and snow, but New Year's will be a low-key affair and not much different from any other night aside from a celebratory glass of something, a kiss at midnight and then probably sleep. If this were Russia, then tonight would be an all-out extravaganza, fusing that wonderful Christmas with family with an additional New Year's Eve blowout!

I can never forgive Lenin or Stalin or any of those murdering communists for the carnage they wrought on innocent people, but I can agree that from a celebratory point of view, merging Christmas with New Year's just makes sense!

With that said, С Новым годом! (Happy New Year!)


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