Enjoying Moscow’s Winter

Everyone thought I was crazy four years ago when I went to Moscow to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I thought so as well when I first stepped out into the Moscow night and nearly froze to death.

I’ve never felt as cold in my life and now truly understand how the Russian winter so thoroughly stopped Napoleon and Hitler. It is harsh and unyielding, but also magically enjoyable in a strange sort of way.

Winter brings an entirely different face to Moscow, blanketing the city with snow and covering up some of the uglier portions of town. Winter transforms the residents as well who disappear into Moscow’s many bars and cafes to warm up and have fun.

The strangest thing about visiting Moscow in the wintertime is the festive mood which descends upon a city that’s notoriously known for being unpleasant and un-festive. Part of what contributes to this air of pleasantry is the fact that most Russian don’t work the first two weeks of January. The holiday period kicks off with New Year celebrations and then carries on for another 14 days after that. It’s almost as though Moscow assumes an entirely different personality during this time–a time that is well worth visiting as long as you’re not an invading army.