In a world filled with multiple varieties of cultures, growing up as a Russian Jew is definitely a unique experience of its own. Here is a little taste of what it's like.
New Years is the most important holiday.
Yes, there is an immense amount of holidays to celebrate during the "holiday season". But New Years is the most important holiday to celebrate for us. If you celebrate New Years in a Russian household, you will never go back to a normal holiday party. From the LIVE FROM RUSSIA broadcast that is on the TV to the highest volume level, to our New Years tree. Yes, we call it a "New Years tree". And if you call it anything else, you will get corrected.
There will be a table full of food for every gathering.
Whether you're coming over for a birthday or there is a Jewish holiday, there will always be a table filled with Russian specialties my mom spent the day cooking. From pelmeni to latkes, the table will always be packed and you will not leave hungry.
Every conversation sounds like a fight.
I always hear people saying that Russians always sound like they are fighting. Ultimately, that is very true. When we're in groups, which is usually how we travel, we speak loudly and sometimes aggressively to make sure we get our point across.
You need to marry the same kind.
The reason your mother would be happy if you brought back someone of the same kind, is because they will get it. Growing up in a Russian household may be different and peculiar to others. Sometimes if a person isn't used to it, they may or may not get frightened. If you bring somebody back who grew up the same, they will get it.
Yes, we pickle everything. You can't have a normal Russian meal without sour pickles, sour tomatoes, sauerkraut, and even pickled watermelon. YES, PICKLED WATERMELON. (Don't judge until you've tried).
Mom and Grandma know everything.
Whether you're sick or you've gotten a bad grade on a test, your Mama and Baba definitely know why. If you go outside with wet hair in October, that's why you have a bad cough in November. Don't sit on the steps outside the house because you won't be fertile. Don't wash your hair the night before a test or else you will wash out all of the information. When you sneeze, you have to pull on your ear to save your soul. But don't counter anything they say, or else you'll feel the tapachki. Speaking of tapachki, which are slippers, are to be worn in the house. ESPECIALLY if you have hardwood floors. If not, you risk getting clinically ill. Never have your feet cold in a Russian household.
This is what it's like growing up in a Russian household. I come from a loud, obnoxious, but most important kind and caring family, who I wouldn't trade for the world.