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Regular version of the site

Why New Year Instead Of Christmas

Traditions and history played a big role in the formation of the holidays. Why the New Year is not the same as for Europeans by Ekaterina Borisova.

Why New Year Instead Of Christmas

Almost all our new year traditions-Christmas tree, Santa Claus, festive dinner are the attributes of Christmas, which used to be celebrated in Russia as it is celebrated in Europe and the United States. Now most citizens believe that the New Year is more important, and more attention is paid to it, leaving Christmas a secondary role. Let us see why it all happened, and how our traditions changed.

New Year, familiar to us, until the 17th century was not. However, there was a similar holiday – the New Year, which was celebrated first in early March, and then in early September. On this day, everyone congratulated each other; there was a service in the Church and a festive dinner. Rich people gave alms and food, and there was no question of any Santa Claus.

Christmas in Russia began to be celebrated in the 10th century, when Voronezh, as such, did not exist. The date of the feast was December 25, as in other Christian countries. This tradition was connected with the ancient Slavic winter celebration in honor of the spirits of the ancestors — Christmastide. Christmas Eve was quiet and peaceful, and the next day the fun began. People walked the streets, sang songs, and arranged dances, dressed up in costumes. In the urban areas have installed roundabouts, tea and beverage tents, worked fair.

At the end of the 17th century, an adherent of the European way of life, Peter I moved the New Year to January 1, as was customary in the West. Since then, the New Year began to be celebrated after Christmas, as a secondary holiday. Under the influence of Western traditions Christmas was also changed, for example, there was a Christmas tree. People gave presents to each other on Christmas, not New Year. On the evening of the 24th  and 25th of December staged a festive dinner, specifically for which people prepared fried pig, goose with apples, jelly and pies with berry and meat fillings. The celebration of the New Year was held at masquerade balls with fireworks.

In 1918, another calendar reform changed everything again-the authorities, following the example of Western countries, adopted a more accurate Gregorian calendar, and the Church remained Julian. As a result, there was a difference of 2 weeks, and the New Year was before Christmas. In addition, during the Soviet period, religious holidays were eradicated, so everything switched places-the secular New year became the main one, and Christmas-not so important, so the Christmas tree, Santa Claus and other traditions gradually lost their importance. But in 1935, after an article in the newspaper" Pravda", called " Let's organize a good Christmas tree for children!", Christmas attributes have again become part of the holiday, only now the New year. The Christmas tree became New Year’s, as well as Santa Claus. Salads were added to the table, including Olivier, and sparkling wine, which was customary to drink in the first minutes of the New Year.

Soviet traditions are ingrained in our minds, and now the main holiday for most of the population is the secular New Year. It is for him that we buy gifts, prepare traditional dishes and celebrate on the night of December 31 to January 1. In addition, at Christmas, religious city residents also arrange a festive dinner and congratulate each other, and services are held in the temples. The rest just spend the day off in a series of new year holidays.

In conclusion, New Year in Russia is celebrating with the same energy and sense inside of it as Christmas abroad. It may be confusing for not Russian people, but it is the result of years of controversial clash between religion and classical traditions or even political situation in the country.

Text by
Ekaterina Borisova