Before the winter holidays, every kid at a Russian kindergarten or primary school is looking forward to attending a special New Year party, utrennik (matinee). This morning performance required much preparation: kids spent a month practicing songs and poems than to be seen by the parents. Featuring stage plays and round dances, it gives children a splendid opportunity to show off their trendiest outfits that could make even the Met Gala attendees jealous. Until recently costumes weren’t available in such a wide range, so it was parents who put their skills and patience to the test while creating the most unique festive apparel. Their work turned into masterpieces, and here are just some of them you can recreate nowadays without much preparation.
When I was little, it was every girl’s dream to dress up as a snowflake. Among the other costumes of forest dwellers and clowns, it was the most elegant option. The idea of the outfit is simplicity itself: a basic white dress adorned with silver tinsel or its pieces. And don’t forget a huge white bow or a tinseled crown on your head! As a result, you get a minimalistic but pretty Russian edition of a Disney princess. Because of this desired and easy-to-make costume, almost every utrennik turned into a gathering of snowflakes, numerous enough to сause a blizzard.
While every girl wished to be a snowflake, every boy was destined to be a bunny at least once in a lifetime. The bunny costume is unsophisticated but cute and consists of two soft bunny ears made of fabric stuffed with cotton wool and a piece of fur or cotton wool used as a tail. Although, there were also budget-friendly options for bunnies with cardboard ears. Black trousers and a white shirt made the rest of the costume, so ears off – and the kid’s ready for any business meeting!
The famous character of Russian folk puppetry, Petrushka (a jester) made his way to the New Year party thanks to his bright outfit. The funny guy stood out from the modest crowd with his huge cardboard cap and pied suit. Although Petrushkas couldn’t boast any comedy program prepared, the bells on their clothes made a ringing sound that was enough to make everyone note their presence.
What is winter without snowmen? A bucket for a hat, a red scarf, a paper carrot nose, and three black buttons – and you’re ready for every adventure before spring kicks in. To look even more like a fluffy snowman, put on white pants and an oversize white T-shirt filled with cotton wool and foam rubber. Voila, you not only look cool but can stage every fight!
Fox or squirrel
These characters were indispensable for every kindergarten stage play. So if you're wearing one of these, that means only one thing: your acting talent has been recognized, welcome to the show! Squirrels often were assistants to Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden, while foxes could be either goodies or baddies. Those of the latter kind one always aimed to sabotage the New Year, but during the performance, were persuaded to take the side of the good. Both outfits included a ginger skirt or pants and jacket, varying by tails and ears of different shapes.
New Year is more than just costumes: it’s food, decorations, movies! Get in a holiday mode like a Russian with our ultimate guide!