Smashing Bottles in Red Square

1998 > Russia

Russia is the place to be on December 31st!

Cheering in the new age of broken resolutions

The Party Crew

A moment of sobriety

Drain those bottles!

The evidence for the interrogation

Rob broke a bottle, I swear!
Wow, its New Years Day and my whole body hurts! Even
after sleeping all day I still feel like a truck hit me. What an
evening I had!

Ok, it all started at work. Around 2 pm ,when I came back from
lunch, the lights went down and the champagne corks went up. My
co-workers decided it was time to party. With champagne,
chocolate, and shouts of ‘Snovum Gordom,’ which very loosely
translates as Happy New Year, we enjoyed ourselves. Later, with a
slight buzz I stumbled home, avoiding the lines at the stores and money
exchange booths. People we snapping up last minute party favors,
and all the dollars they could afford. The Russian Government is
redenominating the rouble, dropping three zeros, and making the population

Once home, I crawled into bed for a pre-party nap. At 8 pm it
was time to prepare. I made guacamole, from a $6 avocado, and a
smatana/dill dip with Ann providing buterbrod, or little open
sandwiches. Our guests provided two types of salads, one called
fish under a blanket, that were quite tasty. They also brought a
superb cake and several bottles of alcohol. Both being my

Our guests made an interesting evening. Two ex-PCV’s their
wives, and a couple one of the wives knew. One ex-PCV spent his
service in Uzbekistan, with his wife moving there to be with him. The
other PCV did his service in Russia, meeting his wife here. The
couple were Russians, her being a professionalsinger. So the nine
of us (the three housemates and the six guests) did several toasts too
many before the stroke of midnight approached.

At 11:45 we taxied to Red Square, just in time to see an amazing
sight. Unlike the big, boastful fireworks displays of the West,
here there were small rockets and firecrackers, set off by the crowd,
and a real feeling that we were celebrating together. I sure was
celebrating! I remember spraying everyone with champagne, smashing
the empty bottle on the Square (a tradition here), taking way too many
photos, and peeing in the entrance to an underground mall (also a
tradition here).

Now how I got home from Red Square and into my own bed is a mystery
to me.

1998-1999 New Years on Red Square

By Gailyn

For New Years, we went over to our friend Wayan’s house for a party.
We played the new trivial pursuit- women against the men- of course the
women won as usual. We left around 11:30 to go to Red Square for new
years- the place to be- it

was wild. First, as you walk under the St George’s gate into Red
Square you scream at the top of your lungs for good luck. When we
arrived in the square there were probably a thousand people there
screaming and setting off fireworks with all those people around it was

People had bottle rockets- generally that means you put the rocket in
a bottle and light it- not in Russia- they hold the rocket in their hand
and light it and it takes off from there hand. There were screamers-
which is set on the ground and numerous lights go into the air screaming
into the air. We saw one woman that had a firework land in her hood and
it was smoking people were trying to help her get it out- this sounds
terrifying- but she was laughing and all the people around her were
laughing having a great time.

So to get the picture there is broken glass everywhere,
fireworks going off an inch from you, smoke all around you from the
fireworks, people yelling, and screaming- utter chaos- but I have to
admit we had a great time. Rob and I talked about it later and that
could never happen in the states- the cops would be checking for
breakable containers before entering the square and of course, fireworks
would not be allowed.

One Comment on “Smashing Bottles in Red Square

  1. Hey! Accidentely found yar site an’ was surprised! It’s great that you visited Moscow and have seen “real life” which mass media never shows (unfortunately). But to tell the truth, saint-Petersburg is a much more fun on December 31st!! You shloud try goin’ there some day. That’s where I live an’ if you are willin’ to do that I could show everything with my friends.