The tradition of sending holiday cards came to Russia from England. Illustrated cards that were in trend at the end of the 19th century in Western Europe, quickly gained their popularity in Russia. The first cards were brought from overseas by merchants, and the scripts on them were hand-written by calligraphers. Later, some book stores started ordering printed cards from Germany. Because of the delivery and handwriting expenses, those cards were very pricey.
Фотография ©Бибичков Михаил
The first Russian Christmas cards were created in 1872. New Year cards appeared very soon after that and were widely used by people of different strata of society. Among different varieties of cards, there were some very sophisticated, one-of the-kind, and work-of-art cards that became valuable pieces of private collections.
Christmas cards production completely stopped after 1917, as the new Soviet Government considered them an element of the bourgeois society.
The first Soviet New Year cards with lots of ideological symbols appeared in the 40-50s. Most of them showed the Kremlin towers, Father Frost, or Snow Maiden, and all of them carried «С Новым годом!» (Happy New Year) script.
In the 90s, a new wave in the holiday cards production brought a diversity of cards for different tastes. The most popular and expensive holiday cards today in Russia are handmade, although many people continue to prefer traditional and even nostalgic Soviet-time cards.
Vocabulary on topic
нового́дняя открытка = New Year card
рожде́ственская откры́тка = Christmas card
получа́ть / получи́ть (что? (Acc.) от кого́? (Gen.) = to receive (something from somebody)
отправля́ть / отпра́вить + (что? (Acc.) кому́? (Dat.) = to send (something to somebody)
Откры́тки по по́чте
Read my short story and see if you understand it. Can you answer the questions that follow?
Ка́ждый год я отправля́ю откры́тки по по́чте в Росси́ю друзья́м и ро́дственникам. В э́том году́ я отпра́вила мно́го откры́ток! Я та́кже получа́ю откры́тки от друзе́й и родны́х на Рождество́ и Но́вый год. Но не о́чень мно́го, к сожале́нию.