Here is a request from a friend who wants to learn more about Ukraine and how Ukrainians celebrate New Years Eve. I wrote this article just after English Club Saturday morning at our school in Nikolaev, New Years Day on January first, a few years ago.
New Years Celebration…
I hope your Christmas and New Years was good. I am curious about the differences in how Ukrainians celebrate the holidays. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with your readers. I hope to come to Nikolaev Soon.
Best regards, Van
Our New Years celebration was great. We wish that yours is as well. We hope that all your dreams and goals come true for the coming year. Larisa and I celebrated it alone with a nice dinner at a cafe just around the corner from our office. When I say alone, I mean that we were the only customers in the cafe. That was around 7:30. Sovietskaya was nearly empty. I’m sure everyone was at home preparing for the late night celebration. Although we were invited to several friends homes, we decided to spend the evening alone. This was partly due to the fact that the last three nights were spent celebrating with friends, so we decided to stay home.
By the way, food prices in Nikolaev are reasonable, including meals at most cafes and restaurants. Our meal consisted of a Greek salad, vegetables, fried chicken, french fries and two drinks. All for about 21USD including tip.
Most people in Ukraine are busy preparing for the late evening and don’t go out for dinner on New Years Eve. Most restaurants, cafes and stores here are closed by 6pm as well. The exception to that are the largest food stores that stay open late. Some stay open 24 hours. I am sure it has to do with liquor sales as well as food. Last year, we noticed even fewer places that were open New Years Eve.
After dinner, we bought some fruit and made our way back to our flat. We don’t drive a car here, so we ride the bus everyday. Buses here can be the size of a city bus or as small as a van for about 12 people called a Marshutka.. Last night, there were very few buses running at 9, but many will come out at midnight when everyone comes downtown for the New Years concert. Taxi’s are available if you are willing to pay three times the usual price. That would be about 5USD to get across town.
Often throughout the year, major holidays are celebrated at the end of Sobordna (Sovietskaya street). This is the main street in the center of the city. This street permits foot traffic only. Cars haven’t been allowed on Sovietskaya for close to a hundred years. It’s the central meeting place for all city or national holidays.
We enjoyed bringing in the new year with a bottle of champagne while watching fireworks outside our balcony and a little TV. In Ukraine, fireworks are readily available to anyone with cash. Although the government tells the citizens of Ukraine not to buy fireworks from anyone without a license to sell them, they do it anyway. There are also many licensed vendors selling fireworks as well. When I say fireworks, I don’t just mean firecrackers. They are the real deal and everyone sets them off at midnight and beyond. Usually lasting just less than one hour, fireworks light up the sky and can be seen in every direction. It’s really very cool.
Our evening was a little different than the way most celebrate New Years Eve here. Most people will spend New Years Eve day getting ready for a late night. They will start preparing food in the morning and into the early evening. Many people will take a short rest early evening before waking up and beginning the nights celebration with dinner sometime after nine.
Wee Hours of The Morning…
The celebration starts with dinner and drinks with friends and family. Ukrainians will enjoy the evening eating and drinking often until the wee hours of the morning. Larisa and I celebrated our first New Years together here in Nikolaev, many years ago. We celebrated until five in the morning, slept for five hours and started all over again on New Years day.
Time to Celebrate…
Ukrainians are very family oriented and willing to spend lot’s of time to celebrate special occasions with friends and family. I hope you enjoyed reading more about Ukraine. Let me know if I can help you further.
Want to know more? We would like to help you. Remember that each person is different. Every situation requires a unique perspective. No two people share the identical circumstances. If you are planning to be successful and find your angel, create a plan that works.