Holidays must go on :) Kalyady
Here all the most interesting things are still coming... You may think a wish on the eve of New Year, you may even write them all on a paper and then burn it while chiming clock is striking (to make sure they all will come true)... But the true magic will be later ;)
Kalyady (or as my dictionary says - the custom of house-to-house carol-singing) is a very ancient, pre-Orthodox tradition, which later coincided with Christmas. All the rituals were believed to help in work and save the family from sorrow and illness. Starting on the 7th of January the holiday lasts for 2 weeks.
With time it became kind an entertainment and fortunetelling is something obligatory:) Many yeas ago it included questions about future harvest, though if girls play in it now, all questions are sure about their intendeds:) Have you ever written names on papers, put it under the pillow and took out one in the morning?:) Or you might dripped wax in water and guessed the future by the figure?:)
Well... another interesting tradition is already mentioned 'custom of house-to-house carol-singing', when people dress as animals (she-goat, bear, mare..) or have any other costumes and sing special songs going from house to house and getting some presents for it (usually sweets).
Though I must say we don't have holidays during all this time, but just 2 Christmas days off (25th of Dec and 7th of Jan ; I even had classes on the 24th!) and New Year (1st of Jan; while all preparations on the 31th are after working day..).
Anyway, It's magic time with lot of fun:)