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Russian Old New Year

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Old New Year is a truly unique holiday that is still popular in today’s Russia. 

Old New Year is celebrated in Russia on the night of January 13.

The origins of Old New Year 

The Julian and Gregorian calendars were the most used computation systems in the recent millennium. As the Gregorian calendar turned out to be more precise, it had widely spread since the second half of the second millennium A.D.

This transfer can be explained by growing international relations, with both merchants and political leaders needing the same time system.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted in Russia in 1918 when the Bolsheviks who had seized power a year before issued a special decree.

That way a year begins 13 days earlier, which stand for the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

However, many Russians celebrate the beginning of a new year on January 14 instead of January 1 (though January 14 correlates with January 1 in accordance with the old Julian calendar).

The fight against religion 

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As opposed to the Communist reforms, the Russian Orthodox Church still celebrates its holidays in conformity with the Julian calendar. For example, the Nativity of Christ (Christmas) is held on January 7 that is the same as December 25 in accordance with the old style (the Julian calendar).

After the Bolsheviks got into power, they replaced all aspects of religion with their new ideology.

Christmas celebrations were prohibited and New Year became a major holiday. Paradoxically, Old New Year was still celebrated according to the old calendar of the Russian Church.

It was a disguised protest of Russians against the religious war led by the Bolsheviks.

The popularity of Old New Year in today’s Russia 

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At the moment this article is being written, the tradition of Old New Year in Russia comprises 98 years. Nowadays no one fights against religion, but the Nativity of Christ (Christmas) remains an official holiday, so the tradition still preserves.

What is it all about?

More likely, the point is that both New Year and Christmas are official Russian holidays and weekends. Russians often celebrate them surrounding by their family members and friends.

However, many Russians get along with their colleagues quite well. Since they spend most of their lives at office, Old New Year becomes a perfect opportunity for people of all religious beliefs to celebrate this occasion together.

We wish you a happy Old New Year!

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