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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Old New Year (Russian: Старый Новый год, Ukrainian: Старий Новий рік, Macedonian: Стара Нова Година) or the Orthodox New Year ( Serbian: Православна нова година or Pravoslavna nova godina) is an informal traditional Slavic Orthodox 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 13/14.


In Russia

Although Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, the Russian Orthodox Church continued using the Julian calendar. The New Year became a holiday which is celebrated by both calendars.

As in most countries which use the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day in Russia is a public holiday celebrated on January 1. On that day, joyous entertainment, fireworks, elaborate and often large meals and other festivities are common. The holiday is interesting for combining secular traditions of meeting the New Year with the Christian Orthodox Christmastide customs, such as fortune-telling and kolyadki (carol-singing). Divination is special on Old New Year’s Eve.

The New Year by the Julian calendar is still informally observed, and the tradition of celebrating the coming of the New Year twice is widely enjoyed. Russians also get a chance to celebrate two Christmases (December 25 by the Gregorian calendar and January 7 by the Julian calendar), as well as two New Years on January 1 (New New Year) and January 14 (Old New Year). Although New Year, unlike Christmas, is not religious, it is still celebrated twice.

Usually not as festive as the New New Year, for many this is a nostalgic family holiday ending the New Year holiday cycle with traditional large meals, singing and celebratory drinking[1].

Other countries

The tradition of the Old New Year has been kept in Armenia, Ukraine (Malanka), Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the former Yugoslav Republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, as the Serbian Orthodox Church and Macedonian Orthodox Church continue to celebrate their feasts and holidays according to the Julian calendar. In the first half of the 20th century, segments of the Scottish Gaelic community still observed the feast[2] and today, groups such as Edinburgh's Am Bothan see this as a convenient date for Gaelic events.

In art

The Old New Year tradition has received mention in Russian art; the playwright Mikhail Roshchin wrote a comedy drama called The Old New Year in 1973, which was on stage in the theaters for many years. He also made it a screenplay for the TV-film which was played by famous actors and featured music by Sergey Nikitin, with the poetry lyrics by Boris Pasternak; the film was released by Mosfilm studios in 1980.


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Last Pibroch, Jaunty Jock and the Ayrshire Idylls by Neil Munro, stated in the glossary


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