Russian people are fond of "the banya". This is a usually wooden structure, somewhere in the village like in the picture below. This is a whole ritual to visit banya and it's not only about washing but mainly for fun, especially in winter when it's a must to go bathing in the snow or in the nearest frozen river or lake. Children from early age are getting used to go to the banya and hit each other with special brooms made of leafy branches. Those brooms add more sensory feelings while in the banya process and especially are useful to warm up one quickly after some good snow jumping. Yesterday it was a New Year Eve - the most widely recognized holiday in Russia. Millions of people wait for it and starting getting ready many months before. Christmas trees as a matter of the fact in Russia are called New Year trees just because the Christmas in Russia is almost ignored by people - during the Soviet Era it was a
banned holiday as all other sides of Christian religion so all the holiday trees and decorations were devoted to the secular holiday of New Year Change. So it's also a widely common tradition right before the New Year comes to visit the banya, and then after this procedure sit all together in a big room at the big table with a lot of traditional Russian dishes and wait for 11.55pm with a TV turned on with the First National Channel - the place where at 11.55pm the president begins his New Year Speech, he is speaking untill 11.59 and 30 seconds before the New Year to arrive the main Kremlin chimes start ringing - and everyone stands up with the goblets full of sparkling wine and when the last sound of the Kremlin chimes is being heard the New Year comes to Russian family. But banya is a must. Happy New Year all the readers, thanks for visiting!