The Chugach region has a rich history that CHF makes a priority to share with others. Our cultural programs, workshops, and Russian New Year Celebration help us continue to pass on the heritage of the Chugach region.
Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors for their contributions to the 2023 Russian New Year Celebration!
Russian New Year Celebration
CHF hosts an annual Russian New Year Celebration (RNY) late January for the Anchorage community. The event includes a potluck, live music & dancing, a traditional performance, and a silent auction. The Foundation has hosted this event for over 10 years and each year welcomes approximately 300 attendees to help celebrate this tradition.
For more details regarding the RNY event, including donations, silent auction contributions, volunteering, or participation, contact 907-563-8866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you want to see what this celebration has in store? Take a look at a few of our past events!
History of Russian New Year
The Native communities of Alaska have long been influenced by Russian culture. During the 18th century, Russian traders and soldiers came to Alaska in search of furs. Many of the Russian religious observances, traditional foods, games, and celebrations were integrated into existing Native customs and continue to be joyously celebrated by community members.
This celebration is highlighted by a traditional play that includes multiple performers representing the transition into the new year, resulting in uproarious fun and merriment.
In the play, there are personified characters, which include the New Year, Old Year, 12 Months (calendar girls), Old Ladies and Military Police. The new year celebration play represents a game between the New Year and Old Year. The New Year is trying to wear out the Old Year with the help of his trusty Military Police. Other characters such as the mischievous Old Ladies and 12 Months (calendar girls) take pity on the Old Year. In the villages where this play is practiced, the characters get hectic and rough with one another. At the end of the play the actors will dance with one another known as the Dance of Forgiveness. Celebrations like Russian New year take place during the harsh and cold winter months and serves as a chance for the communities to come together and celebrate the New year during the holiday season.
Sharing Our Chugach Culture
One of the prominent focuses of CHF is to continue to pass down the rich cultural heritage of our people. Being able to share this knowledge with current and future generations is something the Foundation takes pride in. CHF offers in-person and virtual programs that offer the opportunity for Chugach Shareholders and Descendants to learn about language, arts, food, and other culturally relevant aspects of our heritage. A few examples from our previously help cultural series are: Traditional Dance Class series, Beaded Sea Otter Pouches, and Sea Otter & Felt Mitten Ornaments.
If you have traditional knowledge that you would like to share or would like to participate in our cultural workshops, please contact us. To opt-in to receive notifications and more information on upcoming cultural opportunities please email NativeArtsNight@chugach.com.
To learn a little more about the Chugach culture, check out a few of our videos! Videos were created in partnership with the Chugach Alaska Corporation Cultural Resources Department.