Russian Christmas and New Year Celebration Customs

Beautifully decorated Christmas tree

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Russia is, without a shade of doubt, one of the most authentic destinations in the world, boasting not only unparalleled architectural and cultural heritage but unique traditions as well. Read more about it and get better acquainted with Russian Christmas and New Year celebration customs.

So far we've taught you a few things about Russia, from the place where Dostoevsky liked to stay in Saint Petersburg and locate the main characters of his novels (more in: The Tour of the Grand Hotel Europe), to the punishment Russians had to go through if they forgot limits when drinking nation's favorite distilled spirit (more in: visiting Russian Vodka Museum).

Christmas & New Year Traditions in Russia

In this week's video, you will get to know Russia's culture even better as our engaging rep Vera tells you how Russians celebrate Christmas and New Year as well as shares a secret recipe for the signature dish that can be found almost on every Russian family's table during the celebrations.

Quick Russia Facts:

  • Size: 17,075,200 sq km (6,592,771 sq mi);
  • Capital: Moscow;
  • Population: 145,912,025 people;
  • Currency: Russian Ruble (RUB).

Salad Olivier history

As seen from the video, locals can't imagine their celebration feast without the famous salad which is called "Salad Olivier". The dish was created by Belgian chef (who might have been French) who ran a Parisian-style restaurant "Hermitage" in Moscow in the 1860s. The salad instantly made the restaurant most-talked about and visited in Moscow, so chef kept the recipe as a trade secret and in fact, took it to the grave with him.

Salad Olivier recipe

You can taste the salad too and make it at home using Vera's recipe.

For the Russian signature dish, you will need:

  • 600 grams lean boiled meat
  • 6 ea potatoes
  • 2 ea carrots
  • 3 ea dill pickles
  • 500 grams green peas
  • salt to your taste
  • mayonnaise 4 ea eggs
  • greenery

You will need to boil potatoes and carrots in their skin, then while you wait for them to cool down, boil eggs and boil meat. Peel and dice potatoes, carrots, eggs, meat and dill pickles into small squares. Add green peas and salt. Trust your own taste with greenery. Lastly, stir in mayonnaise and mix the salad. We recommend leaving the salad in the refrigerator for a while before serving.

Taste the Russian salad and other specialties and tour the most exciting sites on an exceptional private or small group tour to Saint Petersburg.