13 January 2010, Wednesday, 11:55
author: Eugene Rakhimkulov
Citizens of Russia will celebrate New Year by the old style tonight. This tradition to celebrate the so-called old New Year appeared in Russia after 1918 after introduction of a new chronology system. It is connected with the divergence of the Julian calendar (the old style) with the Gregorian calendar, which practically the rest of the world lives by. The difference between two calendars in the XX-XXI centuries is equal to 13 days.
As a result we observe rather strange historical phenomenon – those countries, which earlier lived by the Julian calendar, celebrate two New Years now and for Christian believers the old New Year is even of greater importance because the Russian Orthodox Christian Church has never switched to the Gregorian calendar as contrary to the state so Christians may celebrate New Year from the heart only after the end of the Advent.
The difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendar increases by one day every century, when the number of hundreds in a year from the Christmas is not equal to four. Therefore beginning from March1, 2100, this difference will make 14 days and from 2101 the old New Year will be celebrated already in the night between January 14 and January 15 and, correspondingly, the Orthodox Christmas will be also celebrated one day later.
The tradition to celebrate the old New Year exists not only in our country. After the USSR’s breakdown this holiday is socially celebrated also in Moldavia, Armenia, Byelorussia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. This tradition is also popular in Serbia and Montenegro because the Serbian Orthodox Church as well as the Russian one still lives by the Julian calendar and Serbs call this holiday the Serbian New Year.
The old New Year is celebrated also in Macedonia and even in some German-speaking Swiss cantons. As well as in Russia in Switzerland this tradition has become the result of the wide population’s aversion to the transition to the Gregorian calendar, which had happened here on the verge of the XVII-XVIII centuries.