Good evening everyone! Today is the Russian Old New Year!) …Don’t get me wrong-I know it may sound a little bit extreme and too much for foreigners to understand, but it is true that Russians (Ukrainians, Belarusians, Serbians, etc ) celebrate Everybody’s New Year on December 31, Orthodox Christmas on January 7th, and Old Russian New year (today), not to mention Russians who live in western countries and also celebrate an additional Christmas on December 25, and those who like read horoscopes (it’s a big crowd by the way) and , naturally, celebrate Chinese New Year as well. All of this is true. Believe me. I am going to celebrate Old New Year as well. And I still have a Christmas tree and lights in the house and outside))
Wikipedia and http://russiapedia.rt.com
“The Old New Year or the Orthodox New Year (Russian: Старый Новый год, Ukrainian: Старий Новий рік, Belarusian: Стары Новы год, Georgian: ძველით ახალი წელი, Serbian: Српска Нова Година or Srpska Nova Godina , Macedonian and Bulgarian: Стара Нова година, Greek: Παλαιό νέο έτος, Romanian: Anul Nou pe rit vechi) is an informal traditional holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian calendar. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the Old New Year falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendar.
While it may sound like an oxymoron or a paradox, for many Russians the winter holidays aren’t finished until January 14, when they celebrate Stary Novy God: Old New Year. In fact, tradition dictates not to take down the Christmas tree until then. Old New Year marks the changing of the year according to the old Julian calendar, instead of the Gregorian calendar that the world officially uses today. According to recent polls, more than half of all Russians observe Old New Year in some way.
Though the Gregorian calendar was established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, Russia did not adopt it for official purposes until after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918. The Russian Orthodox Church did not adopt it at all, and still adheres to the old Julian calendar. Russians, therefore, have separate dates for some holidays, including New New Year and Old New Year. In Russia, though, Old New Year is not an officially-recognized holiday and workers are not given the day off for observance or celebration. During the existence of the Soviet Union, and its suppression of religion, the holiday was almost entirely abandoned.
New New Year is an official holiday, and the one that Russians celebrate most heartily. This leaves Old New Year as a more relaxed time when Russians celebrate as they please. Some see it as a nostalgic holiday and spend it at large family gatherings where they eat and sing carols. Others see it as simply another reason to go out and party with their friends and colleagues, especially if it falls during a weeknight. They often eat traditional holiday foods. They may bake dumplings with small objects inside, like a button or a thread; the diner who discovers the object is said to receive good fortune in the year ahead.
While Old New Year has a special place in the modern Russian culture, it’s not the only country that recognizes the occasion in some way. Many of the former Soviet republics, including Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Kazakhstan, as well as Eastern European countries where the Orthodox Church is the prevailing faith, observe the holiday – either formally or informally. Additionally, parts of the Scottish Gaelic community use the day as a way to celebrate and promote Gaelic culture. Some German-speaking areas of Switzerland also observe Old New Year under the name St. Sylvester’s Day.”
During Soviet time when I was growing up, we had national holidays only from December 31 to January 3rd. Then, after Soviet Union collapse, January 7th was added to the National days off list. It became more complicated, because people showed up at work for few days between these holidays and didn’t really functioned well (thanks to Russian tradition to celebrate these holidays especially well). So, as a result, several years ago, Russian government gave up and announced official holidays from January 1st to 10th. That wasn’t very good for Russian economy, but it became very good for Russian people. By the way, it’s not the only National holidays, it’s only the January National holidays. There are others plus the official 24 working vacation days. If to compare it with a “generous” US official holidays the government provides to their fair citizens it does sounds as an extreme, but as a nice one!)
Happy Old New Year!
PS I always liked the way it sounds -so controversial, so confused, so Slavic…