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Russian Holidays - Christmas and Old New Year
Russian Christmas and Old New Year
Old New Year
The night from the 13th to the 14th of January is called Old New Year in Russia. Before 1918 in Russia they had Julian Calendar, which was 13 days ahead of the Gregorian calendar they used in Europe. The soviet leaders in 1918 accepted the European calendar, although for as long time they had to specify if a certain date was according to the new or old style ("по новому стилю" or "по старому стилю"). So with time people got used to celebrating New Year according to the new calendar but the tradition to celebrate Old New Year remained. This holiday is more family-like and less solemn with no Kremlin bells or a president speech.
All the Church holidays are still celebrated according to the Julian calendar. One of the most important of them is Christmas Day (Рождество Христово) celebrated on the 7th of January. In Russia like in many other countries it is the Christmas Eve that is the most important (Рождественский сочельник). Because on the Eve of Christmas is the end of the 4-day Christmas fast, in Russian they didn't eat till the end of the day "до первой звезды" (till the first star), and dinner had to be meatless( постный). After a repast they went to church for a night service, and on the first day of Christmas they had a rich banquet.
From the Christmas started Christmastide (Святки) - 12 days till the Twelth Day (Крещение Господне) on the 19th of January. Christmastide ways to have fun - masquarades (маскарады), гадания (fortune-telling), trick-ot -treating (колядование).