Fireworks are continuously being set off in Moscow, but yesterday was exceptionally noisy, especially right after the clock struck twelve. The noise reminded me more of the fourth of July than New Year's. The fireworks here are huge and everyone has the fancy bottle rockets that explode like miniature real fireworks. Luckily I don’t know what war sounds like because I don’t think I would like this tradition if I did. The bangs and booms were constant and loud -- I'm not sure if I could have escaped the noise if I wanted to. Fireworks continue to be set off at about 5:30 PM on New Year’s Day – the noise and beauty is contrasted with a multitude of dead fireworks I saw lying around this morning. I have no clue how or when the garbage will be picked up, but at least at my apartment complex it WILL be picked up, just like the road through the complex WILL be shoveled with a single man and his snow shovel.
While I don’t believe we celebrated a typical New Year’s in Russia, no burning wishes into our champagne classes and drinking them down at midnight, no plethora of Russian salads (though we did have two!), no vodka drinking the entire night (we stuck to the champagne), bringing in 2009 was a celebration with eating, drinking, dancing, music, Russian MTV, Medevdev’s speech and two people who knew the Russian national anthem singing it! The party consisted of four Americans, an Irishwoman, and a Russian – so we had quite the cosmopolitan crowd.
Rachel and I at Ryan's on New Years
In Russia, they count the twelve bongs of the Kremlin clock tower and on the twelfth they celebrate by toasting and singing the Russian national anthem – this is quite a to-do as many Russians don’t know the newest words (I believe I was told they changed about 5 years ago). Counting up was confusing, and we all toasted when the clock began to strike twelve instead of waiting until the twelfth.
Happy New Year all! I hope 2009 treats you well!