New Year’s Salad

This informant is from Russia and shares a common holiday recipe amongst her family. On New Year’s Eve, she explains that Russians usually puts salad called “olivye” on the table amongst the various food items they eat. This salad includes potato, bologna or some kind of meat, with either/or, eggs, pickles, cucumbers, boiled carrots, onions, mayonnaise, which can be replaced by sour cream, salt, and canned peas. She explained that it always has be there for New Year’s Eve. The main attraction of this meal is the fact that every year there is always one person who gets super intoxicated and plants their face in the salad. Typically, this person passes out in the salad and when everyone notices, it means that there is good luck for everyone for the year. The informant looked on at this tradition with humor and enjoyment for how silly it is, and acknowledges that it’s not a Russian New Year without this happening. While it is a recipe, it also seems to be a superstitious ritual for good luck. In another version of this New Years salad, Vsevolod Pulya gives a run-down of how exactly her Russian New Year goes. In this version, there is never a time when someone plants their face into the salad. However, the “olivye” salad remains a tradition and it is noted that if there’s any left over, it’s usually a good thing since they can have more of it. This is interesting to contrast with informant’s take on the salad, mainly because everyone won’t be able to have any left overs considering that someone’s is planted in the bowl. I particularly like this one for its quirkiness, but was also grossed out that someone literally plants their face into a bowl of essentially mayonnaise. I also don’t think I’d ever find myself taste testing this Russian delicacy.


Pulya, Vsevolod. “How to Ring in the New Year like a Russian.” Russia Beyond, 31 Dec. 2017,