Russian New Year is American Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one big celebration. Salutes, that is fireworks, have been going off for a few weeks in random fashion... one a huge boom around 3 am in our courtyard. The local Season supermarket was packed this morning but the people were in a happy and polite mood.
Families and friends gather for big meals and lots to drink. Then just before midnight Putin addresses the nation. 2008 was viewed by many Russians with worry because for the superstitious leap years are unlucky.
I consider the true new year starts at the winter solstice. But the calendar date is a great reason to have a party. Happy New Year!