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 Russian New Year & Christmas


This page is dedicated to the Russian New Year and Christmas. Here are some useful holiday greetings and their pronunciation in Russian, information about the history of the New Year and Christmas celebrations in Russia, some holiday songs and toasts for a New Year party.

If you'd like read about other popular Russian holidays, click here.

Holiday Greetings
Russian New Year & Christmas
New Year Songs
Toasts


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Holiday Greetings

Below are some basic Russian phrases (written in Cyrillic, transliteration, practical transcription) with their English equivalents.

English Russian Transliteration Pronunciation
Merry Christmas! Счастливого рождества!

C рождеством!
Весёлого рождества!
Schastlivogo
rozhdestva!

S rozhdestvom!
Vesyologo rozhdestva!
shchis-LEE-vah-vah razhdee-STVAH!
srah-zhdee-STVOHM!
vee-S'O-lah-vah rah-zhdee-STVAH!
Happy New Year! С Новым годом!
Счастливого Нового года!
S Novym godom!
Schastlivogo Novogo goda!
SNO-vim GO-dahm!
shchis-LEE-vah-vah NO-vah-vah GO-dah!
My sincere greetings with ... От всей души поздравляю с ... Ot vsej dushi pozdravlyayu s ... Aht fsehy doo-SHI pahz-drahv-L'A-yoo s :
...New Year! ...Новым Годом! ...Novym Godom! ...SNO-vim GO-dahm!
...Christmas! ...Рождеством! ...Rozhdestvom! ...rah-zhdee-STVOHM!
I wish you ... Желаю тебе/вам ... Zhelayu tebe/vam ... zheh-LA-yoo teh-BEH/vahm ...
... happiness. ... счастья. ... schast'ya. ... SHCHAST'-yah
... good luck. ... удачи. ... udachi. ... oo-DA-chee!
... good health. ... здоровья. ... zdorov'ya ... zda-ROHV'-yah!
May all your dreams come true. Пусть сбудутся все твои/ваши мечты! Pust' sbudutsya vse tvoi/vashi mechty! poost' ZBOO-doo-tsa fseh tva-EE/VA-shi mehch-TI!
I wish you all the best. Желаю всего хорошего. Zhelayu vsego horoshego. zheh-LA-yoo fseh-VO ha-RO-sheh-va!
(I wish you) Happiness and health! Счастья и здоровья! Schast'ya i zdorov'ya! SHCHAST'-yah ee zda-ROHV'-yah!

Note 1: The peculiarities of the Russian personal pronouns caused the necessity of mentioning two variants of some words within a sentence: as a rule the word before a slash is related to informal style, after a slash - to more polite, formal style.
Note 2: for convenience of pronunciation the words are divided into syllables, the capitalized syllables are stressed, the apostrophe (') indicates softness of the consonant.

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Russian New Year & Christmas

For Russians, there is no holiday more important than the New Year. It is the first on the calendar and in popularity. People see the New Year in at midnight on the 31st of December. They greet the New Year with champagne and listen to the Kremlin chimes beating 12 o'clock.

Ded Moroz i Snegurochka

Russian Holiday tradition includes a decorated New Year's tree - ёлка* (fir tree). Children always wait for Дед Mopoз* (Grandfather Frost), to come and bring them a present. Grandfather Frost's residence is situated in Velikii Ustug, the town on the north of Russia. Grandfather Frost is always accompanied by his granddaughter Снегурочка* (Snowmaiden) who helps him distribute the gifts. For the Russians, the New Year is a family holiday; people think about friends and relatives. But young people prefer to have the New Year parties of their own.

Don't be surprised, but at midnight on the 13d of January people in Russia celebrate Old New Year that corresponds to January 1st in the Julian calendar, used in Russia before 1918.

After the Revolution that took place in 1917 year religion was called as "opium for people" and Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. So celebrating New Year became a sort of "replacement" for it. Only after 75 years, in 1992, Christmas became openly observed. Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th, in accordance with the old Julian calendar. A lot of people go to church services on that day. On the Eve of Christmas, it is traditional for all family members to gather. But, until now, Christmas is less popular in Russia in contrast to Britain or the USA, where it is the greatest holiday of the year.

Note: ёлка (fir tree) is pronounced as "YOL-ka"; translit: yolka
           Дед Mopoз (Grandfather Frost) is pronounced as "deht ma-ROHS"; translit: Ded Moroz
           Снегурочка (Snowmaiden) is pronounced as "snee-GOO-rahch-ka"; translit: Snegurochka

New Year: December 31st - January 1st
Christmas: January 6th - January 7th
Old New Year: January 13d - January 14th

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New Year Songs

Below are the texts of three popular children New Year songs: "Yolochka" and "V lesu rodilas' yolochka" are given in Cyrillic and transliteration, "Jingle Bells" is available in English original, in Russian translation and transliterated.

1)
Russian Transliteration
ЁЛОЧКА

Маленькой ёлочке
Холодно зимой,
Из лесу ёлочку
Взяли мы домой.

Сколько на ёлочке
Шариков цветных,
Розовых пряников,
Шишек золотых!

Встанем под ёлочкой
В дружный хоровод.
Весело, весело
Встретим Новый год!
YOLOCHKA

Malen'koj yolochke
Holodno zimoj,
Iz lesu yolochku
Vzyali my domoj.

Skol'ko na yolochke
Sharikov tzvetnyh,
Rozovyh pryanikov,
Shishek zolotyh!

Vstanem pod yolochkoj
V druzhnyj horovod.
Veselo, veselo
Vstretim Novyj god!
З. Александрова      Z. Aleksandrova

The melody of "YOLOCHKA" is available at
http://visclub.narod.ru/nypage.files/raznoe.files/muzik.files/muzik2.files/5.html

2)
Russian Transliteration
В лесу родилась ёлочка,
В лесу она росла,
Зимой и летом стройная,
Зеленая была.
Метель ей пела песенку:
"Спи, елочка, бай-бай!
"Мороз снежком укутывал:
"Смотри, не замерзай!"
Трусишка зайка серенький
Под елочкой скакал.
Порою волк, сердитый волк
Рысцою пробегал.
Чу! Снег по лесу частому
Под полозом скрипит;
Лошадка мохноногая
Торопиться, бежит.
Везет лошадка дровенки,
А в дровнях старичок, [мужичок]
Срубил он нашу ёлочку
Под самый корешок.
Теперь она, нарядная,
На праздник к нам пришла
И много, много радости
Детишкам принесла
V lesu rodilas' yolochka,
V lesu ona rosla,
Zimoj i letom strojnaya,
Zelenaya byla.
Metel' ej pela pesenku:
"Spi, elochka, baj-baj!"
Moroz snezhkom ukutyval:
"Smotri, ne zamerzaj!"
Trusishka zajka seren'kij
Pod elochkoj skakal.
Poroyu volk, serdityj volk
Rystzoyu probegal.
Chu! Sneg po lesu chastomu
Pod polozom skripit;
Loshadka mohnonogaya
Toropit'sya, bezhit.
Vezet loshadka drovenki,
A v drovnyah starichok, [muzhichok]
Srubil on nashu yolochku
Pod samyj koreshok.
Teper' ona, naryadnaya,
Na prazdnik k nam prishla
I mnogo, mnogo radosti
Detishkam prinesla

The melody of "V lesu rodilas' yolochka" is available at
http://visclub.narod.ru/nypage.files/raznoe.files/muzik.files/muzik2.files/1.html

3)
English Russian Transliteration
Jingle Bells
(a falk song)

Dashing through the snow,
In a one-horse open sleigh,
And o'ver the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.

The bells on bob-tail ring,
Making spirits brights,
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight.

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.
Бубенчики
/народная песня/

Блещет яркий снег,
Словно ветер, сани мчат,
Звенит веселый смех
С бубенчиками в лад.

На санках расписных
Прокатиться каждый рад,
И льется наша песня
С бубенчиками в лад.

Динь-динь-дон,
Динь-динь-дон,
Льется чудный звон,
Слышен смех со всех сторон,
Сани мчатся под уклон.
Bubenchiki
/narodnaya pesnya/

Bleshchet yarkij sneg,
Slovno veter, sani mchat,
Zvenit veselyj smeh
S bubenchikami v lad.

Na sankah raspisnyh
Prokatit'sya kazhdyj rad,
I l'etsya nasha pesnya
S bubenchikami v lad.

Din'-din'-don,
Din'-din'-don,
L'etsya chudnyj zvon,
Slyshen smeh so vseh storon,
Sani mchatsya pod uklon.
  /перевод Ю. Хазанова/       

The Russian text is borrowed from http://teacher.fio.ru/news.php?n=2570&c=80

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Toasts

If you'd like to surprise your friends with a traditional Russian toast, we recommend you to learn the following two.

1)
The first one is short and very essential at the same time.

English Russian Transliteration Pronunciation
To your health! За ваше здоровье! za vashe zdorov'ye! za VA-sheh zda-RO-v'yeh!

Click here to hear the toast pronounced by a native speaker.

2)
We are glad to present you another very popular Russian toast. It can be translated into English as follows:
"My grand-grandfather said: "I have a desire to buy a house, but I have no opportunity. I have an opportunity to buy a she-goat, but I have no desire". So, let's drink to having correspondence of our wishes and opportunities!"

Russian origin looks like this:
"Мой прадед говорил: "Я имею желание купить дом, но не имею возможности. Я имею возможность купить козу, но не имею желания". Так давайте же выпьем за то, чтобы наши желания совпадали с нашими возможностями!"

Transliteration:
"Moj praded govoril: "Ya imeyu zhelanie kupit' dom, no ne imeyu vozmozhnosti. Ya imeyu vozmozhnost' kupit' kozu, no ne imeyu zhelaniya". Tak davajte zhe vyp'em za to, chtoby nashi zhelaniya sovpadali s nashimi vozmozhnostyami!"

Practical transcription:
"mohy PRA-deht ga-va-REEL:"ya ee-MEH-yoo zhe-LA-nee-yeh koo-PEET' dohm, no neh ee-MEH-yoo vahz-MOHZH-nahs-tee. ya ee-MEH-yoo vahz-MOHZH-nahst' koo-PEET' ka-ZOO, no neh ee-MEH-yoo zhe-LA-nee-ya". tahk VI-p'yehm za to, SHTO-bi NA-shi zhe-LA-nee-ya sahf-pa-DA-lee s NA-shi-mee vahz-MOHZH-nahs-t'a-mee! "

Note: for convenience of pronunciation the words are divided into syllables, the capitalized syllables are stressed, the apostrophe (') indicates softness of the consonant.

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