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New Year's party

19th December 2013

Dear all,

We have decided to try a New Year’s party this year instead of a
Christmas party as life is usually a bit calmer in January than
December and we thought members might appreciate it.

We have chosen the Friday after New Year’s Day (Old Calendar)
so it will be held on Friday 17th January at the Club for Acts and
Actors at 20 Bedford Street, London WC2E 9HP.  It will be a sit-down dinner starting at 6:30 for 7:00pm, wine will cost £8 per bottle from the bar (red and white) and there will be entertainment and dancing, including the traditional Russian ceremony of bread and salt on arrival.  The menu will be circulated later, there is a wide variety of choices.  Below please find an explanation of the bread and salt ceremony.  We have managed to keep the cost of the evening to £27, partly by not icluding a glass of wine as not all members wanted one.  Please pay by Tuesday 10th January 2014.  There is limited space so please book early.

“The GB-Russia Society would like to welcome its members and their guests to the 2014 New Year’s Party with the Traditional Russian Welcome of Bread & Salt (Хлеб иСоль). This ancient custom originated in showing hospitality ‘Хлебосольство’, so much part of the Russian soul, by replenishing the guests with the essentials for life when they arrived after a long journey. Over the years versions of it have been used for many different occasions. For those unfamiliar with this sincere and delightful, traditional ceremony, the welcomer bows and offers the guest the Bread & Salt. The welcomer may say, ‘Хлеб даСоль’ (‘да’ is an old way of saying ‘and’) and the guest may reply, ‘ Спасиьо’ (Thank you) while breaking off a small piece of bread, dipping it gently in the salt and then eating it.

Bread, a stable of the diet which is produced, often with great difficulty from the earth, represents hard work and wealth, consequently it is much honoured and so purveyed on a beautiful cloth (рушник), usually with meaningful red embroidery(sometimes the loaf is also covered with the ends of the cloth to protect it and represent God’s Blessing), all carried on a wooden board or decorated tray. Often it is presented by a girl in the traditional Russian costume of a sarafan dress and kokoshnik headdress.

Salt is so important for cells, nerves etc that people around the world have travelled dangerous journeys over vast distances to fetch it, this together with, at times, taxation has made it a highly prized substance and hence sharing it a sign of friendship and loyalty. Its cleansing and preserving properties connect it with protection and warding off evil spirits.

Sharing Bread & Salt is an opportunity to build trust and friendship thus binding people together.

So come and Bless 2014 and get to know your neighbour over Bread & Salt at the New Year’s Party.

Хлеб-соль !

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