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Christmas. Daria-Yakovleva (c) | Pixabay
Christmas. Daria-Yakovleva (c) | Pixabay

7 Things Russians Eat to Celebrate the New Year

Picture of Julia Shinkareva
Contributor / Journalist
Updated: 28 December 2017

The Russian celebration of New Year’s Eve is even more interesting than the local Christmas recognition on the 7th of January, which tends to be quite calm. Here are the main things you should have on the table to celebrate New Year’s in true traditional Russian style.

Black & Red Caviar

This is one of the most important snacks during the Russian New Year and is usually served with butter, green salad and bread. Black caviar is sometimes served separately because it’s pricier. Often served in beautiful silver or porcelain dishes filled with chipped ice lemon pieces, the caviar sandwich and dishes are symbols of wealth.

Olivier Salad 

Oh, yes! Russians love an Olivier salad during the holidays, and especially on New Year’s Eve and Orthodox Christmas. This locally famous salad consists of Russian sausage, eggs peas, cucumbers and potatoes and is dressed with mayonnaise.


Tangerines have been part of a traditional Russian New Year’s table setting since Soviet times when it was hard to find imported fruits in USSR. It’s not uncommon to see queues in the fruit section at supermarkets prior to the celebration.

Pickled Babushkas Cucumbers, Tomatoes & Garlic 

It’s not really Russian New Year’s Eve without these savoury snacks. They go well with vodka and many local liquors, and they’re all must-tries!


Russians love champagne, especially on New Year’s Eve. One of the most traditional family rituals is to prepare the bottle before midnight and have the TV on to enjoy the champagne while watching Russian president Vladimir Putin address the nation in front of the Spasskaya Tower at the Kremlin. Russians believe that drinking champagne within the first seconds of the new year will bring luck for the whole year. However, you must be attentive and open the bottle exactly when the clock strikes 12, and then make a wish immediately.


No Russian celebration is complete without vodka, and it’s quite clear why—this local drink is the most popular spirit during the holidays in the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus. Vodka is usually served straight out of the fridge and goes well with caviar and pickled vegetables. Yummy!

Baked Duck with Apples or Pears 

Duck courses are very common in all the parts of the Russian Federation, but many locals save the dish for special occasions, including New Year’s Eve.