These Strange People

Podcast Show with Marie Staroverova
and Native Speakers Club
#3 Чем Дед Мороз отличается от Санта Клауса?

Добрый день! Я, Мари Староверова, приветствую вас на шоу "These strange people - Эти странные люди", которое мы делаем совместно с проектом Native Speakers Club.

Native Speakers Club - это уникальное пространство для погружения в иностранные языки в самом центре Москвы.

Слушайте образовательно-развлекательные подкасты с носителями иностранных языков о том, в чем мы разные, а в чем мы похожи. В гостях у нас Джесси. Скоро Рождество и Новый год и мы, конечно же, не могли пропустить эту интереснейшую тему. Сегодня мы говорим о том, как празднуют Новый Год и Рождество в России и на других континентах, в частности, в Северной Америке.

Приготовьтесь слушать подкаст на английском языке!
Рабочая тетрадь для занятий по 4 подкастам
Мы не отправляем спам и не передаем ваши контакты третьим лицам
— People in Russia love New Year holidays. What about Canada and the United States?
New Year's Eve is fun for everyone, but the way we celebrate it is very different from the Russian way. In Russia the 31st of December is the main holiday of the year, but in western culture it's another day that is the most important holiday.

For everyone in North and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and even most of Africa the most important day is a week earlier: on the night of December 24th - Christmas Eve, then Christmas day which usually starts with a pancake breakfast and lots of presents.

This is the one day of the year when everything everywhere shuts down and everyone goes home. This date - the 25th - is sacred, especially for children who are awaiting the arrival of Saint Nicholas - or as we call him today: Santa Claus.

— How do Canadians and Americans celebrate Christmas and New Year?
The holiday actually starts about a month before the 25th. This is the Christmas or holiday season. It is also the beginning of the shopping season. Children start making lists of everything they want and parents start thinking of how they will pay for it all. This part of the process might last more than a month - it's called the holiday shopping season. During this time we buy a Christmas tree and decorate it and the pile of presents begins to grow. Lights go up around town and on houses and a special magic begins to take place. Sure there is a lot of running around and preparations and it can get hectic, but there is another side to it --- something else begins to take place.

Christmas is a time for kindness, especially to strangers. People are kinder and the world seems a bit brighter at Christmas time. And this is because of the what happened on the first Christmas, 2016 years ago, when a baby was born in Bethlehem and the angels sang to shepherds: "Peace on earth, good will to people everywhere!" 2016 years ago. --- wait a minute this is the year 2016 -- What a coincidence. So the first Christmas happened on the year Zero? How does that work? In any case, this is called the Spirit of Christmas - real magic -- and you actually feel it in the air if you stop and get quiet and look up at the stars.

— What are the similarities and differences between Russian New Year and Western Christmas?
Though Russian New Year and Western Christmas have differences, they also have a lot in common. We both have grandfather figures who bring presents to good children. They both deliver all the presents to all the children at the same time on one night! This is pretty amazing, when you think about it.

Little kids don't even contemplate the obvious impossibilities - they are just happy that there are free cookies and no one is telling them to stop eating. Then, when kids are about 7 or 8, and they have had a few geography lessons, they begin to realise that are logical errors in the story. They inevitably ask how the simultaneous present delivery system really functions.

The answer to the problem is obvious: --- "Magic! -- Santa --- and Father Frost --- both have magical powers --- and that's all you need to know." -- Some kids are more sceptical than others, but --- as long as they get what they want for Christmas, they're usually willing to stretch their imagination. Sooner or later they will join the "enlightenment", but they will still enjoy the festivities... especially the presents.

But let's analyse Santa's and Frost's mode of operation. Also quite similar. They both live far beyond the arctic circle ---suspicious --- beyond the reach of normal humans --- (except for scientists and Russian and American navy personnel who patrol the frozen seas in nuclear submarines, presumably searching for Santa's and Frost's secret toy workshops)

Both Santa and Frost have helpers: Frost has forest animals and a granddaughter: the snow maiden --- Santa has little people called elves. They both have amazing toy production factories and both deliver free of charge. They only payment is good behaviour.

A pretty good deal if you ask me!
— Can you share your first experience when you saw how Russians celebrate New Year? Can you think of any stories or anything that surprised you when you first celebrated New Year and Christmas in Russia?
When I came to Russia I had to adjust my world view in a major way. I just had this idea of Christmas on the 25th -- celebration on the 25th -- quiet and peace throughout the town.

But the 25th came and it was a normal working day. I was shocked and depressed… until we had a Russian New Year's celebration on the 31st! Then I realised that Russian New Year is actually a lot of fun! Kind of A Christmas and New Year combined.

Happy 2017 everyone!