The Russians Are Coming!

The 4th annual Russian Winter Festival took place in London's Trafalgar Square on Sunday, January 13, attracting a record-breaking crowd of over 75,000 revellers from around the world.

Like New York, London has always been an ethnic melting pot. For one day each winter, the city all but becomes Russian. Every January 13th, London celebrates the "Old New Year" in the British capital's most famous public space, Trafalgar Square.

The Old New Year is a holdover from pre-revolutionary Russia, which used the Julian Calendar. This placed the country's timeframe 13 days behind that of Western Europe. The Bolsheviks updated Russia's calendar, but the tradition still lives on.

Today, the Old New Year is premise for the Russian Winter Festival, which offers visitors a look at Russian popular culture in all of its forms - from modern pop stars and rock music, to folk groups, street theatre and the country's celebrated ballet.

On the ground, the Russian spirit is pervasive: the wafting smells of Russian blini (pancakes) and pirozhki (pies), borscht and shashlik (Russian kebab).

Recent political scuffles between London and Moscow do not seem to have affected the Festival's atmosphere. If anything, the event has become more important than ever. In a statement at this year's Festival, Yuri Fedotov, the Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, declared that while state diplomacy between Britain and Russia has all but failed, "people's diplomacy" was on the rise, as indicated by the festival's success. -

This text was presented by Eventica - a multi-faceted organisation specialising in the Russian market, with extensive expertise in business-to-business and cultural events, corporate entertainment, publishing and communications.

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