Old Russian Romance
St Valentine’s Day may be a new holiday for Russia, but romance has always been celebrated — on feast days, and with spells and superstitions. Here we give you both the old and the new ways that Russians like to romance …
To attract the woman of your dreams: Cut an apple in half, place a piece of paper with your beloved’s name on it in between the two halves, tie up the apple and place it in the sun. As the apple becomes drier and drier, the woman’s feelings for you will grow stronger and stronger.
To attract your heart’s desire: Cut a twig from a fresh bundle of twigs used in the bath house and put it on the threshold that your beloved will walk over. After she steps over it, hide the twig where no one will see it. Then put the twig in a hot bath house while saying: “As this twig dries, let God’s servant (her name) pine with love for me.”
To charm your heart’s desire: Cut a small lock of hair off the woman you love and wear in an amulet around your neck. Then try to walk exactly in her footsteps.
To make a man think you are pretty: take a scarf and go out into the street. Say this spell over the scarf: “I get up without saying the blessing, go out without making the sign of the cross, leave the house but not by the door, leave the courtyard but not by the gate, and stand with my back to the East and my eye to the West. In the West stands Joseph gazing on the Holy Virgin, and so will God’s servant (his name) gaze on me.” Then go back into the house and rub the charmed scarf over your body.
To attract a husband: Wait for the new moon, and as soon as you see it, twirl on your right heel while saying, “Moon, oh young moon, make a husband twirl around me as I twirl around you.”
To attract the man of your dreams: Say, “Fair maid am I, I wake up with a bright eye, on a bright and clear day, I wash in dew, I wrap myself in a light veil, I put on a light shawl, I cover myself in a white fan, I go out the gate, I turn into the meadow, I pick a dandelion, and I blow on it. Let it fly to where my dear (his name) is, let the dandelion down tell him how dear and sweet he is to my heart. And after those secret words, he will love me openly, passionately and deeply, as I love him -— my knight, my brave, fair and blushing love… Let his heart melt before my love like ice before a blaze, and may his words to me be as sweet as honey. Amen.“
New Russian Romance
Modern Moscow lovers on St Valentine’s Day show their love in the traditional western way, with a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, and a romantic dinner for two. Here at Passport, we’ve spent our time looking out for the best places to go, so that you can have more time for loving.
It doesn’t matter what your budget is — whether you’re buying just a single red rose, or an armful of white lilies, the best quality flowers are not sold in a metro kiosk!
- We have looked around the city, and for a very special bouquet we like Elite Flora. You can order a classical bouquet, or they will produce a ‘designer’ creation.
32 Bolshaya Grusinskaya.
Tel: 254-39-92. Opening hours: 8.30 am – 8.30 pm
- If you like beauty and convenience, then the best hotels in Moscow all have flower shops; the flowers are delivered daily, the presentation is five star, and they’re open until late.
Ararat Hyatt Moscow Hotel: 4 Neglinnaya. Tel: 783-12-34
Marriott-Aurora: 11/20 Petrovka. Tel: 937-10-00
Marriott-Tverskaya: 26 Tverskaya. Tel: 937-00-00
Baltschug-Kempinski: 1 Balchuk. Tel: 230-65-00
National: 15/1 Mokhovaya. Tel: 258-70-00
All of the above are open from 10 am to 10 pm (except the Hyatt which closes at 9.30 pm)
- If you’re sitting in your office, looking at the clock and thinking that you’re not going out in the snow to buy flowers, you can call for delivery with AMF International Flower Delivery Service. They have a two-hour rush delivery available in St Petersburg and Moscow.
974 7090 (English-speaking operator)
- Remember that in Russia you only give an odd number of flowers (even numbers are for funerals),
so make sure that it’s eleven, not twelve, roses!
“It’s the thought that counts” and we think that on St Valentine’s Day a little bit of luxury is the best. You might be on a student budget, but you can buy just a few chocolates with wonderful packaging, and it shows as much love as if you spent a fortune.
You can find much more than chocolates at the new Fauchon boutique, but for St Valentine’s Day they have very elegant presentation boxes of heart-shaped bonbons and pralines.
Fauchon: 7, 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya.
Tel: 978-80-83. Opening hours: 24 hours.
We like especially the handmade chocolates at the beautiful Colonial shop. Their chocolates are made on site, and the packaging is a little bit different, very smart but not the classical look. Best of all, they’re right opposite the metro, and they’re open until 12 midnight.
Colonial Shop. 3 Ostozhenka. Metro: Kropotkinskaya
Tel: 291-52-76. Opening hours: 1 pm – midnight
If it’s going to be chocolates then many chocophiles would say that it has to be Belgian white truffles. You can find them at the famous chocolatiers Godiva and Leonidas.
Godiva: 10 Petrovka, Petrovsky Passage, 1st floor, 2nd Line. Metro: Okhotny Ryad.
Tel: 924-89-98. Opening hours: 10 – 9, (Sunday, 10 – 7pm)
Leonidas: 33 Zemlianoy Val, (in the Atrium Shopping center) 1st floor. Metro: Kurskaya. Opening hours: 11 am – 11 pm
We think that the chocolatiers Korkunov and Confael produce the best Russian chocolates.
Korkunov: 13/16 Bolshaya Lubianka. Tel: 925-64-11. Opening hours: 10 am – 8 pm
Confael: Tel: 251-15-55, 18 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya. Opening hours: every day 10 – 10.
And now you want to know where we think you should go for that romantic tete-a-tete?
Navigate to Restaurant Guide section and we give you our recommendations.