• Marina

Old New Year

Пост обновлен 15 сент. 2019 г.


Happy Old New Year! Sounds absurd? Not in Russia!


We love to celebrate the New Year so much that we celebrate it twice. Since 1918, our governments have used the Gregorian calendar, but the Orthodox church keeps using the Julian calendar. This way, things got messed up and some people kept celebrating holidays in “old style”, as in, using the Julian calendar. Eventually, all secular holidays moved to the new chronological order, but since the very beginning, people liked the idea to have two New Year parties: January 1 (New New Year) and January 14 (Old New Year).


The Old New Year is usually not as festive as the New New Year, for many this is a nostalgic family holiday ending the New Year holiday cycle (which includes Eastern Orthodox Christmas on January 7). On the Old New Year’s Eve, TV broadcasts once again show all the New Year’s programs, concerts and films and people keep the fir-trees from the New New Years' party. It’s a bit like being in Groundhog Day.


When I was a kid, nobody explained to me this situation with calendars, as people didn’t think about it, they just liked this surrealistic tradition. The Internet didn’t exist yet in my home town, so I couldn’t Google it and I kept thinking for many years that Russians just made up two New Year parties because it’s fun.


The Old New Years is a good example of an oxymoron and it keeps inspiring poets, writers, and filmmakers. We have “Old New Year", a poem by Andrei Voznesensky; “Old New Year”, a play at the at the Moscow Art Theater (staged by Oleg Efremov); “Old New Year”, a satirical comedy of directors Naum Ardashnikov and Oleg Yefremov and “Old New Year” - a song by Vyacheslav Malezhik. That’s just what I remember, I’m sure there must be so many more works with this exact title.

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