Happy Old New Year, friends!
As odd as it sounds, many Russian-speaking countries and countries where Orthodox Christianity is widespread, celebrate this unusual and very old tradition. This is the time when the new year officially begins.
You'll ask: why does the year begin only after two weeks passed? I will walk you through a bit of Ancient Rus' history, and explain some other interesting traditions related to this: the difference in calendars.
The mighty tzar Peter The Great, among other mighty things that he did, introduced a new calendar called the Julian calendar. Peter The Great required on December 30th, 1699 (that was a year 7207 in the old, Eastern Roman Empire's calendar), that the Russian Empire is going to follow a new order of things starting in 1700:
- the year starts on January 1st, and not September 1st, as it was before;
- wish each other a happy New Year, prosperity, and well-being;
- decorate fir trees and celebrate widely.
I am glad that he did it! This Julian calendar lasted until the 1900s. And then it, too, became a thing of the past. In 1918, the country suffered turmoil in all spheres, and it affected the calendars: now Russian people were told to follow the Grigorian calendar, which caused a lot of confusion. Holidays in Julian, or the old style calendar, now shifted two weeks past their original date, and were celebrated two weeks later according to the new style calendar.
That happened to several other holidays: Christmas in the old style is celebrated on January 7th, and Orthodox Easter usually takes place two weeks later than Western Christian Easter.
Aren't people in Russia lucky to celebrate all major holidays twice? Below you can see a postcard with Farther Frost who returns to give children more presents! Many people gather with their families and once again have a quiet family gathering with dumplings, where on dumping will have a surprise inside, like cherry filling instead of cheese, or a button. If you got the lucky dumpling, you will have a fortunate year ahead. Save this date: on January 14th, we celebrate the Old New Year!