Dear friends, readers and followers,
Lada and Az are wishing you a wonderful, happy and healthy New Year!
May all your sacred wishes come true!
Frohes neues Jahr
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
新年快乐 / 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè)
For Russians the biggest annual holiday is the New Year. I have done big posts for previous New Years, where I gave recommendations for various New Year’s films, posted holiday music, beautiful images and videos, as well as gave the history and lore of the Winter Holidays. In the end of this post you’ll see the links to my past articles. This time, on the light holiday note I want to share with you some of Russian New Year / Christmas pics and traditions.
So you know, in Russia that well-known magical guy who gives out presents is called ‘Ded Moroz’ (Grandfather Frost). He is the equivalent of the Western Santa, but per Russians, he definitely, no question about it, resides in the ancient town of Veliky Ustyug, in northern Russia.
Here’s Putin, together with Ded Moroz at his official residence in Veliky Ustyug ~
Ded Moroz doesn’t come for Christmas, as in the West. He comes for New Year’s, which is (if I may say so myself) the right way of doing things. 😉
Why? You probably know by now that in fact the figure of Ded Moroz / Santa Claus / San Nickolas is a pagan spirit, or god, of winter. At one point it was absorbed by Western Christianity so that to entice more people to convert. Russian Orthodox Christians, shall we say, were a bit more honest about it.
Regardless of what he’s called and when he comes, we all love and welcome him, along with his companion, who in Russia is his beautiful granddaughter, Snegurochka (snow maiden). Snegurochka is certainly also an original Vedic nature goddess character.
As seen on top pic, Russian Ded Moroz brings his gifts normally in a sleigh pulled by three horses, not by reindeer.
This is the northern Russian version of Ded Moroz, straight out of ancient legends — the true Vedic God of Winter. Look at his outfit (remember my Forbidden History articles on FuturisTrendcast?) Read the rest of this entry
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY WONDERFUL READERS & FOLLOWERS!
MAY THE YEAR 2017 BRING YOU JOY, HAPPINESS & PEACE!
Welcome to Live New Year on FuturisTrendcast!
The party runs from today, Dec. 31, 2016 till Jan. 2, 2017. During this virtual gathering, I’ll be posting the views of the fairytale New Year’s Moscow, my favorite Russian New Year movies, with English subs, as well as my personal international, cool, funny and bizarre New Year’s stories!
Everyone’s cordially invited to the party. In the comment section you are also invited to share your own New Year’s stories, New Year pics and celebration videos from your country and home!
LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!!
ENJOY THE NEW YEAR’S IN THE FAIRYTALE MOSCOW 2017!
More vids to be added later! Please come back!
MY OUTRAGEOUS & FUN NEW YEAR STORIES
In my life, I happened to greet the New Year in some fun, memorable and outrageous ways, and in many fascinating places.
In the old days, back in Odessa and Moscow, we usually celebrated in a company of good friends. Being fashionably late was a sport of sorts; in our intellectual circles it was considered all in good fun. Just like in the perennially favorite Russian New Year’s film, The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath, I remember frantically trying to get to the party before the first stroke of midnight. We would catch a taxi – with difficulty – and urge the driver to go as fast as he can through the snowed-in city. Then we would storm into our friends’ apartment building clutching the requisite bottle of the Soviet Champagne (yep, it’s a famous brand) – our responsibility to bring to the party – as others nervously awaited our arrival with empty champagne flutes on hand. Then, at 11:59 sharp, as on TV the Spasskaya Tower Clock began chiming midnight, we would shout, ‘Quick, the glasses!’ and pour it just in time! New Year saved by the bell!
Later, there were many other New Years…
Once, in the 1980s, I greeted the New Year at the Tropicana Club in Havana, Cuba. Incidentally, the night club, full of hot and almost naked Cuban dancers, booze and buzz had absolutely no age restrictions. There were people of all ages, including some suspiciously young ones. But they were all divine dancers. I was invited by the club’s leading musician and manager, for whom I once translated in Russia. As a total non-drinker, I had to do some fancy footwork to enjoy the party, while avoiding drinking throughout the night.
The millennial New Year 2000 I happened to greet in Haifa, Israel. The terrorist acts were widely predicted and expected. When I was leaving to Israel before the holidays, my various Smith Barney clients begged me not to go, saying, ‘We don’t want to lose you!’ I assured them all that I would be safe. I was right, as usual. Even then, when I didn’t do it for a living, my predictions were spot on. 😉
How do you think we greeted New Year’s 2000 in Haifa? You won’t believe it, but my nice Jewish-Russian friends decided it would be fun to invite me to the Russian mega-bash at a fashionable Russian night club, called… Hollywood. The all-night entertainment program and I don’t know how-many-course holiday meal were loudly lavish, never-ending and borderline risque. We have to forgive them: they still ran on the Russian mentality of the crazy ’90s.
To be honest, I preferred to either catch up with my friends’ entire family at home or go exploring authentically Jewish and Muslim entertainment. Of course, I also did all the usual: Dead Sea, Arabic settlements, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Wailing Wall and the Holy Sepulchre.
The security on streets and airport was shocking. Let’s recall it was pre 9/11 and very bizarre to a Western eye. At the time it was very hard for an average person to understand how the entire country could constantly live under siege. The military with machine guns were everywhere you went in Jerusalem. Snipers were menacingly stationed on top of the Wailing Wall, full of Jewish worshippers in big black hats – they did expect an attack that night.
When I was leaving Israel, a young and unsmiling airport security girl in military uniform unapologetically and unemotionally squeezed every tube of the healing Dead Sea scrubs and rare creams a bought from the famous beauty company Ahava. The whole check-up procedure lasted 45 minutes. But that was nothing compared to what they’d done to a little boy’s shoe. The Arabic family in the next aisle was told to remove their little son’s shoe. The shoe was ripped apart and tossed out to the cries of the boy. Turned out it was bomb free.
Later in the decade I understood why they did what they did.
Once in the US, for New Year’s I was stuck in our country home in the Berkshires, with only my darling kitty Lilechka for company (you see her on my pic in the top right corner of this blog). It was at the time that I began writing THE EARTH SHIFTER, while also finishing up STEPFORD, USA. Incidentally, the story of Stepford, as journalist Jade Snow gets stuck in the Berkshires alone, while her husband works in New York and abroad, is partially inspired by my own.
That New Year’s we had a totally crazy amount of snow. In town, the mountains of snow pushed from the road to the sidewalks reached second and even third floors of buildings. The sidewalks looked like narrow tunnels, dug between tall white walls. The snowfall began on the 29th and by the 30th our 1/4 mile-long driveway was covered in snow to my waist. Due to the holiday I simply could not get anyone to plow it. Meanwhile, some roads and bridges from New York were closed and my hubby was unable to drive back home. When they cleared the roads and he finally arrived on the night of Jan. 1, I saw his car’s dim lights on the other side of the massive white sheet. Thank god he brought a shovel. We dug simultaneously from both sides, illuminated only by the bright moon’s light, until we met in the middle. That night I fully understood how the WWII Russians and Western allies felt when they met on Elba in 1945.
At other times I greeted the New Year on Red Square, and on Times Square. My Times Square New Year has its own funny story, which I’ll tell another time. Those times I spent New Year on Red Square, and generally in Moscow, are some of my most treasured.
New Year’s on Red Square:
These are some of my New Year’s stories. And what are yours? Please share them in comments!
Enjoy Novogodnyaya – New Year’s Song from the Russian girl band Blestyaschie (Shining).
Watch BELOVED RUSSIAN NEW YEAR COMEDIES OF ALL TIME!
Genya, the main hero of the aforementioned The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath says: ‘We have a tradition. Every year, on December 31, my friends and I gather at the banya.’ (Banya is a traditional Russian wet sauna or steam room.) That fateful phrase began the incredible adventure, which became the beloved Russian film of all time.
Just like Genya and his friends, we also have a family tradition. For New Year’s we watch the nostalgic Russian movies. Today, I want to share with you the treasures of the golden era of Soviet/Russian cinematography, which we enjoy every year.
Of course, the staple: The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath. You can find it on Amazon, or at certain Russian stores. The original made in the 1970s has the incredible magic and freshness that contemporary films are simply unable to reproduce. After all these years, it hasn’t lost its mega-popularity. There is a contemporary Irony of Fate part 2, which is also not at all bad.
Unfortunately, Irony of Fate is unavailable on YouTube. But the good news, I found several other all-time New Year favorites! And the best thing, they are posted on YouTube for FREE and they come with English subs! All highly recommended by me!
NEW RUSSIAN FILMS JUST ADDED!
Some have already celebrated the New Year. Still 12/31/16 on my side of the pond. As promised, FREE links to some of my fave Soviet/Russian New Year’s films. These are all 5 stars or above in my classification, in other words, world classics and eternal favorites (for more on my rating scale see Russian films page on FT – under RUSSIA tab above!)
NOTE! Most of these come with English subs. Because Mosfilm owns copyright, I cannot post them on FT. Please click on links below to watch on YouTube! These are unlisted, the links can only be obtained through watching a Russian version. This means Mosfilm frowns upon sharing. So, please be considerate – I am sharing only with my blog’s loyal readers, those who genuinely love Russia and are interested in her culture.
Carnival Night – Eng subs (Rus: Карнавальная ночь)
Blurb: The bureaucratic and nosy new director of the Cultural Club Ogurtsov annoyingly interferes with the preparations of the event of the year, the New Year Carnival, by demanding bizarre and non-sensical changes to the program. The party organizers are in despair, but their determination to make the concert and carnival a success help them outwit Ogurtsov.
Song ‘5 MINUTES’
Gentlemen of Fortune (Rus: Джентльмены удачи)
5+ STARS – WOULD GLADLY GIVE IT 10+! 1971. Sorry, no Eng subs. One of my fave movies of all time, a comedy with cute songs, great acting and immortal lines that became instant sayings. It is one of my New Year’s films as the action takes place mainly around New Year’s, part in Moscow and part in hot Central Asia.
This is the story of a kindly principal of a Moscow kindergarten, who also happens to be a WWII hero, and who is a spitting image of a dangerous criminal. Taking advantage of this incredible likeness, Soviet police decides to infiltrate him into the gang to find the missing archeological treasures. As the gang retraces their steps to try to find the treasures hidden by their ring leader, while experiencing various adventures along the way, our kindly kindergarten teacher subtly, and unbeknownst to him, manages to change the psyche of the gang members, who slowly develop consciousness.
The Prisoner of Caucasus, or the New Shurik’s Adventures – Eng subs (Rus: Кавказская пленница, или Новые приключения Шурика) Note, Mosfilm translates it as ‘The Caucasian Prisoner.’
5+ STARS. Awesome, cool, full of action Soviet comedy, peppered with satire and great lines that became instant classics and a part of Russian culture.
Blurb: An eccentric comedy about a student named Shurik, who goes to the Caucasus for work and meets local chief Saakhov, a man full of guile. Having been duped by conniving Saakhov, Shurik, with the assistance of three famous crooks, abducts the beautiful Nina. Now it’s up to Shurik to figure out where Nina is held prisoner and how to save her.
(This is for those who asked me about Putin’s reference to this film! You may recall Putin mentioned a line from this film in his recent annual Q&A – the one about who destroyed the 17th century chapel: ‘And the 17th century chapel we have also destroyed?’ In the comment section I’d explained what that line meant. Note, in the movie they are actually referring to the 14th century chapel. Please see full explanation in comments for Putin holds annual Q&A marathon (FULL VIDEO – Eng))
Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures – Eng subs (Rus: Операция «Ы» и другие приключения Шурика
5+ STARS. The first film about the kindly and soft-hearted Shurik, who, when necessary, can show spunk and courage. The second film in the Shurik trilogy is The Prisoner of Caucasus. In this first instalment, Shurik is still a student; the film consists of 3 separate hilarious and educational episodes, describing his funny and inadvertently heroic adventures.
Blurb: A series of 3 short film comedies, where the protagonist, a student named Shurik: 1. reforms a malicious idler at a construction site; 2. frantically prepares for an exam, failing to notice his exam preparation buddy is actually a pretty girl; 3. with the help of a granny catches three burglars attempting to rob a warehouse.
And it’s 2017!
ADDED JAN. 1. 2017. These two Russian films are great to watch any time of year!
Ivan Vasilievich Changes Professions – with english subtitles (Rus: Иван Васильевич меняет профессию). In the US it was released as ‘Ivan Vasilievich Back to the Future.’
5+ STARS – deserves all 10!
Hilarious and charming comedy, with elements of social satire, based on M. Bulgakov’s play “Ivan Vasilievich” about a time machine, which inadvertently transports the smart czar Ivan the Terrible into the twentieth century. At the same time, tsar Ivan’s look-alike, not very bright bureaucrat Bunsha, together with a shrewd thief George Miloslavsky, by mistake get transported into the ancient Russia. The result is a cool and funny comedy of errors you’ll remember.
This is also the third installment of Shurik’s adventures, where Shurik is a researcher and inventor of the time machine.
5+ STARS – deserves all the stars it can get! Cool, sweet, action packed, comical and satirical, with great songs and soundtrack, with lines that became instant hits and a part of the Russian culture. Funny and fun – don’t miss!
Blurb: An awkward and kind-hearted family man, Semyon Semyonovich, by mistake gets entangled in a major smuggling operation during his tour abroad. Being confused with the crook he travels with, he becomes the unwilling and unwitting courier, carrying precious jewels in his fake arm cast. Throughout the dangerous and elaborate cat a mouse game, which turns into a comedy of errors, Semyon Semyonovich manages to outsmart the international criminals.
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IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
President Putin has addressed the Russian nation, congratulating the people on a hard but fruitful year. Grateful for all those servicemen and women for defending Russia, as well as those working tirelessly on this Holiday.
NEW YEAR’S TREAT FOR MY READERS!
New Year is the year’s biggest holiday in Russia. There are lots of very good movies, cartoons, concerts and various songs/performances that are dedicated to it.
One of the eternal classics is the old Russian fairytale made into a film in 1964, MOROZKO, for some reason translated to English as Jack Frost, but better translated as Father Frost.
Watch MOROZKO here with English subs! (TIP: if your Eng subs don’t work, click on CC button on the bottom right of your Youtube screen.)
This is an equally lovely Soviet classic (1956, film length animation). Nowadys they say, with a nostalgic sigh, about such films: ‘They don’t make them like this any more!’
Fairytale TWELVE MONTHS (watch with Eng subs):
Another old classic (1952, film length animation): SNEGUROCHKA (The Snow Maiden). Snegurochka is considered the granddaughter of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost). As all Russian films and fairytales, it carries important life’s lessons and wise revelations.
A couple of uplifting New Year’s songs from the fantasy film CHARODEI (Wizards) produced at the Odessa Movie Studio in 1984. These songs are also classics with huge following throughout the world.
‘Three White Horses’ (the three white horses in this case mean December, January and February – reflecting the symbolism of the legendary Russian Troika):
‘Snezhinka’ (snow flake), or ‘While the clock strikes Midnight’
There are lots of other great movies and cartoons. I’ll share them in the future – stay tuned!
C Новым Годом 2016!
S NOVIM GODOM! HAPPY NEW YEAR!