There is a tradition in Russia to celebrate New Year's coming two times a year - according to both Gregorian and Julian calendars. The Old New Year's day, coming on the 13th of January, is a very popular holiday in Russia.
- salt denotes misfortunes
- sugar - luxurious life
- pepper - hard life
- cotton wool - smooth life
- raisin - career growth
- a gold ring - a wedding
- a key - a new flat
- thread - a journey
Prior to Tsar Peter the Great, the Muscovy calendar placed the first day of the new year on September 1. Peter, in 1699, determined that New Year's Day should be on January 1 and further ordered that all households would sport festive lights and a seven day feast would commence.
Very popular during Sviatki was the practice of mumming. Mummers were, typically, young folk who would dress up in colorful and clown like costumes. They would race through the streets of their village in their troikas, visiting and entertaining neighbors and friends with song, dance and games. Second only to Paskha (Easter) Sviatki was the most holy time of the year. It was, also, the gayest. Carols and folk songs, known as Kolyadki, were sung to herald Christ's Birth and the coming of a new year. Trees were decorated, gifts given and a great Christmas feast enjoyed by gatherings of family and friends.
During the years following the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and the end of tsarist rule in Russia, Sviatki took on a different meaning and tradition. The Soviets sought to suppress and outlaw any and all forms of religious expression or celebration and either destroyed church buildings or converted them into public/governmental centers. Thus, the Nativity of Christ was replaced by an emphasis on the celebration of the winter solstice and new year. There remained, throughout the Soviet Era, groups of Russian Orthodox Christians who continued to celebrate and practice their faith and its holidays; but not without consequence.
Threw the slippers - they were gone.
Off the gates the slippers fell -
So the girls their fortune tell
- You need two big and equal mirrors to set them one opposite each other. Between them you place two candles so that there must be a long corridor lighted with candles. A person who does it must be alone or with somebody who is also interested in it. They must keep silense. No animals in a room. You sit in front of one mirror so that to see the reflection in another one. The moment you see your future groom you must cover the mirror with a cloth otherwise who knows what can happen...
Fortune-telling by a ring
- Put a thread through a golden ring. Pour some water into a glass. Lower a thread with the ring into the glass with water. It'll begin to swing and knock against the borders. Count the number of strikes - they denote the age when you'll get married.
Fortune-telling by wax
- Melt a piece of wax in a spoon and pour it into a cold water. Guess what the image means.
Fortune-telling by names
- Write down all the male names you know on the pieces of paper and put them under your pillow. Before you fall asleep say "My fiance, come into my dream". You must see HIM in your dream. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing take a piece of paper under a pillow and find out the name of your future husband.