Happy Staryi Novyi Rik (Old New Year)

Trip Start Mar 02, 2003
Trip End Jul 04, 2005

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Flag of Ukraine  ,
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Last night I had the chance to celebrate another New Year's Eve in Ukraine. On January 13th to the 14th Ukrainians celebrate Old New Year. I ate kutya - a mix of wheat, buckwheat, raisins, poppy seeds, and honey. This dish is eaten during the Christmas holidays, and I must say, it was quite tasty. Totally different than anything I've ever eaten.

I spent New Year's at my friend Vera's. Vera and her mom really prepared an enormous spread of food and various deserts. We all got over there around 7pm, and new food still appeared on the table around 1:30 in the morning. It was great! We drank home made wine and fresh apple juice. Another cool tradition during Old New Year is caroling. The catch is that they're not religious oriented carols, and that the carolers have to dress in costume. While at Vera's I think I saw four or five groups of carolers stop by. Traditionally they are paid by the home owners, and I must say, that as many houses as these people visited I think they must have made pretty good money last night.

The best part for me is that Vera's family lives in a real house, not in one of the huge block style apartment buildings. She lives on the outskirts of Rivne and when we left last night it was totally dark, all that you could hear was dogs barking. It was a bit of a fiasco to get a taxi (Vera's parents don't have a phone) and the public phone down the street was broken. To make the situation even more ironic the two people with cell phones didn't have enough money on their cell phone cards to make a call. We finally managed to get a cab - and thank goodness, because it was a really long walk home and it started raining as soon as I walked into my building.

So, I think that's it for the really big holidays for awhile. There's a couple more coming up, but the big ones are over for now. Happy Old New Year!!
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