The Old New Year! Another Russian Paradox?

When you see “Old New Year (Orthodox Christian)” in your planner, your first thought might be “Hmm… Is it a mistake?”

No, it’s not! Today Russians celebrate the Old New Year. It does sound like an oxymoron to many foreigners. 

When Russia refused to adopt the Gregorian calendar in 1582, they continued to celebrate all holidays as before. The Gregorian calendar was implemented in Russia after the 1917 revolution in 1918. Consequently, the Old New Year is celebrated on January 14th. 

Some deeply religious Christian Orthodox believers still celebrate a ‘real beginning of the year, or real New Year’. For them, the Old New Year has significant importance because for them it’s the very first celebration of the beginning of a new year after the end of the Christian Orthodox Christmas lent. 

The Old New Year is not an official holiday. Many Russians — about half of the country’s population, according to statistics — celebrate the Old New Year by gathering at a festive table.

Happy Old New Year! 

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