Nowadays the most popular and the most celebrated holiday in Russia is the New Year! This is because Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7th as opposed to December 25th, and because in Soviet times Russia was atheist.
The main celebrations for the New Year in 2016 traditionally will take place on Palace Square and Nevsky Prospect. Thousands of people will gather there to see in the Year of the Monkey and wonderful New Years celebrations.
Nevsky Prospect will turn into a pedestrian street where citizens and guests of the city will merge into one big happy crowd! There will be songs and music and you can hear from Father Frost (that’s the Russian Santa Claus) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden). There will be several stages installed where Russian pop stars will perform. However, folk music sometimes can be a better alternative!
On December 26th Father Frost (Ded Moroz) will come from his residence in Veliky Ustyug, Vologda District to St Petersburg. He will visit Palace Square to light the main Christmas tree of the city and participate in other New Year celebrations.
Ostrovsky Square is also a very popular place for the New Year entertainments this year. Here usually the Christmas market takes place where you can shop for sweets and special treats, participate in contests and quizzes, and win souvenirs. This year the Christmas market will take place in Pionerskaya Square, near the Pushkinskaya or Zvenigorodskaya metro stations.
On Hares’ Island, near Peter and Paul Fortress, ice sculptures were also installed. A big ice-hill will be available for everyone. On the New Year’s Eve a concert will be organized with a winter show and contests for all the guests.
On the Spit of Basil Island will be fireworks at 3:00 a.m. on the January 1st, which will not be the conclusion of the celebration but will just add to the spirit of the occasion! Actually, every district of St Petersburg will organize festivals and cultural events for the New Year holidays.
Nevsky Prospect will be beautifully illuminated and decorated with garlands and lights. On the evening of the December 31st traffic will be stopped, and you will be able to get to the city center by metro only (Metro stations Gostiny Dvor, Nevsky Prospect and Admiralteyskaya).
If you just go for a walk in the center of the city you will definitely see lots of Ded Morozes and Snegurochkas! So enjoy this most bright and exciting Russian winter festival! And don’t forget to visit the Christmas markets and get gifts for all your friends and relatives!
Happy Holidays from Dancing Bear Tours!