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The Russian traditions which are going to surprise you

Author: Elena Ivanova

Talking to a Russian woman, you must know something about traditions, which will most probably seem to you surprising or even a little bit strange. For example, why do Russians bathe in an ice-hole and iced water even when the frost is absolutely severe? And how do they manage to drink hot tea after it, but not to continue the evening in a hospital?

Bathing in an ice-hole is an old tradition in Russia. For several centuries bravehearts (not only men, but women as well) have taken a dip in iced water on the 19th of January. It is widely thought that water has a special healing power this day. Although doctors strongly recommend to prepare for such type of bathing beforehand (for example, to take a cold shower, gradually reducing the water temperature), many people decide to try it without any preparation. Journalists see how this tradition is observed publishing photos of famous officials in swimming suits.

Another custom in Russia is to pour cold water over oneself (or to chafe oneself with snow, depending on the season) after a bath. A Russian bath is very humid, it is customary to whip a body with birch brooms in it. Taking a bath is good not only in winter, but in summer as well. Even when it is hot, one can see plumes of smoke under many country houses ("dachas") - Russian baths are in operation. This tradition is an obligatory part of a happy week-end.

Maybe you will never have to bath in an ice-hole or take a Russian bath, but every man should know the following tradition. Give an odd number of flowers as a present. If you present your beloved woman with, for example, 14 red roses, she will be shocked. The fact is that in accordance with a traditional practice in Russia an even number of flowers are brought only to a funeral.

Lots of traditions in Russia are connected with holidays. For example, on the New Year’s Eve every Russian woman considering herself house-proud is to put two complicated salads on the table - "dressed herring" and "Olivie". It takes several hours to cook these salads - first, you need to boil vegetables, eggs, then to chaff and to mix all the components. Even though these are fattening meals, cooking them as well as watching the same romantic comedy on TV has become a New Year tradition.

In a whole, Russians are proud of their traditions, but at the same time they are non-judgmental towards those who are not familiar with them. They would love to bring you to a bathing-house, lay the table with many traditional meals for you. Because hospitality is also a Russian tradition which is followed almost by everybody.


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