Текстовая расшифровка видео и перевод на русский язык:
When I was in Moscow, I was lucky enough to be invited to the birthday party of one of my favourite students. I realised that the guests at this party were mostly her very best friends, so I felt very honoured to be there! We had a great time, but there were some very clear differences between the way that this group of young Muscovites celebrated and the way that young British (and American) people celebrate.
I’m going to talk to you today about the biggest differences in traditional birthday celebrations in the two different cultures. For each point I will talk about the Russian way, followed by the British way so you can see the difference. Before I begin, let me tell you one thing: I don’t believe that one way is better than the other! I think the party I attended in Moscow was a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, but I also think my own birthday party in England was a great celebration, as well. There will be no criticism in this video, just an explanation of the different styles.
Ok, let’s go!
First difference: Food.
In my experience, one of the biggest differences between a British birthday party and a Russian birthday party is the food. When Russian people host a party at their home, the food is often savoury and – in my opinion – quite uncomplicated. There is usually a lot of fruit, cold meat, bread and pickled vegetables. The sweet foods are usually cake with fruit and cream, and there is often vodka or wine. It seemed to me that Russian people use their birthday celebrations as a reason to get good quality, expensive or healthy foods that they would not normally buy.
However, in Britain it is almost exactly the opposite! At my birthday celebrations, I go out of my way to buy junk food; crisps, chocolate, biscuits, sweets. Usually we choose the worst foods we can think of because they remind us of being children. We never eat healthy food at birthday parties, and we usually don’t cook. I guess it’s all for the same reason: we all enjoy eating food that we do not usually have every day; for Russians it’s more expensive, pure delicacies, whereas in the UK it’s junk food!
Second difference: Activities.
Whilst many young British people celebrate their birthdays with family in the same way as many young Russians, there is a difference when we celebrate our birthdays with friends. When I went to my Moscow friend’s party, the party took place around a big table, where the emphasis was food, talking and friendship.
Now, this isn’t totally different in the UK, but if you ask many people what they did for their last birthday, often the answer will be “I went out and got drunk”. People still want to be with their friends and have a lovely time, but usually alcohol is the main focus. People tend to go out to clubs and bars on their birthday, and if they do stay at home they will usually drink and listen to music.
Also, something that doesn’t happen in England which was the best thing about the Russian birthday party that I attended was the part where all the friends who were there stood up around the table and said a few words about the host and why they were happy to be friends. This was the nicest part of the evening, and I really think that it’s a shame British people put all their emphasis on having a party and drinking rather than honouring friendships and appreciating one another.
The one difference where it is 100% the opposite in each country concerns the organisation of the celebration and how it is financed. I know that in Russian culture it is traditional for the host (the person who is having a birthday) to pay for all the food and the venue for celebration, and the guests enjoy the evening for free. In return, the guests bring gifts and say wonderful things about their host!
In England, this is the opposite. It is traditional for the birthday boy/girl to pay for almost NOTHING on their birthday. If, for example, there is a party at their house, they may provide the food, but guests would bring alcohol and cake, and if they go to a bar or a club, people would buy the birthday boy/girl all their drinks. It is also common for the guests to pay for the birthday boy/girl’s meal in a restaurant.
Now, there is a problem with this system. Often (in my experience), many guests decide that they don’t want to come to the party, especially if they think that they won’t be able to afford it. Many young people decline invitations to celebrate a birthday because they can’t afford to go out to clubs, or they can’t afford an expensive meal at a restaurant. This means that sometimes people you care about can’t celebrate with you.
I actually prefer the Russian way, because it means that your celebration is based on your budget, and your friends can all come regardless of their own financial situation!
So there you have it, some differences in birthday celebrations! I hope that it was interesting for you. Please remember that I have not attended EVERY Russian birthday party in history, and I haven’t attended EVERY British birthday party, either. This was just a summary of my own experiences and the differences that I have personally noticed.
So, how do you celebrate your birthday? Which style do you think is best? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you have enjoyed my video, see you all again soon!