New Year's day in Chisinau: what to do and where to go

Vladlena Martus | Live the World

November 23, 2022

New Year's day is a total fairy holiday that is loved and celebrated all over the world. It is also one of the official public holidays for the Republic of Moldova, celebrated on the 1st of January each year. The holiday usually starts on the 31st of December and continues until the very end of the New Year festivities. For the past years, New Year's day has become the largest and most popular holiday in the whole country. It is often celebrated in the parents' house, in a family circle, however, people also like to spend those festivities somewhere outside, usually in the center of Chisinau. Where to go and what to do while there? Let's find out together!

© pixabay/Chukovskaya

Slavic folklore & symbolical characters of the New Year

Firstly, the 1st of January as a date of celebration was established by Peter the Great and spread on the former Bessarabia in 1812. Before, Moldavian people celebrated only the Orthodox Christmas on the 7th of January. 

After some time, in the 19th century, the oriental Slavic folklore was replenished with the images of Santa Claus and his granddaughter - Ded Moroz (Father Frost) and Snegurochka (Snowgirl). Those images also came to Moldavian folklore as 'Mosh Craciun and Fata the zapada', becoming the funny and at the same time, symbolical characters of each matinee and festivity. As a rule, the Baba Yaga (the antagonist of Father Frost) always tries to disturb and stop the New Year's arrival. In the end, she still loses, but our heroes save the holiday.

© iStock/Gunay Aliyeva

Christmas tree and other entertainment options 

In Moldova, we begin to prepare for the celebration of the New Year holiday long before it is occurring. On the Great National Assembly Square, right in the center of our capital, authorities usually set a huge and beautiful Christmas tree. In other places and streets of Chisinau, trees, shop windows, and parks are decorated with colorful shining garlands. In each district, during the pre-holiday season, outdoor fairs for the sale of Christmas gifts are opened - almost one month/three weeks before the actual holiday. In those fairs, you can find a lot of different New Year presents for your closest people. Also, you can taste a lot of delicious dishes and drink traditional Moldavian izvar - hot wine. 

© iStock/Panama7

Besides the fact that you can visit Christmas fairs, you can also have some fun. You can skate on the beautiful skating rinks that are situated throughout the whole city and almost in every district. In addition, talking about entertainment, you can go to the Valea Morilor Park to ride on the sleds and admire the beautiful fireworks that are striking the beginning of the New Year. The winter festivities are finally completed by the meeting of the Old New Year, which is, actually, not an official holiday; however, it is loved by our people. It is a tradition kept since a long time ago. 

If you are still trying to decide whether to come to Chisinau during the New Year festivities or not, you should totally consider visiting it during the winter holiday! You will have a lot of things to do, plenty of things to see and different places to go to. You will always be welcomed to our generous and cozy country!

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