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  • blur branch celebration christmas The History and Traditions Behind The Russian New Year’s Eve Holiday

    Enjoy this excerpt from our cookbook & cultural compendium More Than Borsch.See more and buy a copy here. In Old Russia, the new year began in March. It was celebrated like most spring holidays, with the ushering in of the sun, the warmth, and anticipation of new life. When Orthodox Christianity took root at the […]

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  • Where To Learn Russian

    Здравствуйте – Zdravstvuite – Hello! Let’s be real: Russian isn’t the most popular language to learn. It’s not seen as romantic like French, suave like Italian or useful like Spanish. And that’s a real shame, because Russian is extremely eloquent, versatile and even, believe it or not, beautiful. In addition, Russia has been in the […]

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  • Russian & Ukrainian Easter

    Easter, or Paskha (Пасха), is the most important feast and a joyous celebration of the resurrection of Christ and many religious and secular traditions surround this sacred holiday. The majority of Russians and Ukrainians are either Eastern Orthodox or Catholic. Eastern Orthodox make up the majority of believers in Russia and in the eastern regions […]

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  • Maslenitsa, the Russian Celebration of Spring, and Its Mascot, the Pancake

    Enjoy this excerpt from our cookbook & cultural compendium More Than Borsch.See more and buy a copy here. Maslenitsa is a holiday that comes at the end of winter, meant to usher in the spring and celebrate the new warmth and coming bounty. In pagan times, the predecessor to Maslenitsa was Komoeditsa, celebrated the week […]

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  • Just Slavic Things: Having a Sit by the Samovar

    Enjoy this excerpt from our upcoming cookbook, More Than Borsch. The word samovar means “self-boiler” and is an integral part of tea making and drinking. A samovar-like implement with a central tube covered in soot was discovered in Azerbaijan dating back to the 2nd century BC, but samovars weren’t widely manufactured until the 18th century, […]

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  • It takes a Village

    In Ukrainian villages, construction skills were based on local traditions and knowledge handed down generation to generation. Wood, clay and thatched roofs were primary building materials in most vernacular architecture of Ukrainian peasants.      Outside around the house there was a small backyard with fruit trees and bushes and vegetable gardens surrounded by wattle fences, […]

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  • The Birch: Russia’s Tree

      A symbol of Russian nature and Russian beauty, the birch tree (“bereza” or “berezka” in Russian) has a very special place in the country’s culture. It is a poetic symbol of the feminine, a lyrical image of spring, light and virginal purity. The slender birch brings to mind the image of a humble girl, beautiful,and very […]

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