The distinction between between the Russian Celebration of New Year’s and X-mas in America is not distinguishable – for most of the country, the celebration has taken on the more “consumerism” and “getting together with family and friends” approach.
In Russia, we have two New Year’s. The former “2nd Christmas” is every now and then mentioned in the calendar. Why? Symbol of duality of Russian life or someone’s mistake in filling the calendar of events?
The reason why there are 2 New years, and we don’t even have to choose one to celebrate between the two (we have 2 parties every holiday season) is the separation between the Julian Calendar and the Gregorian calendar. The complete transition to Gregorian calendar was completed by the Russian empire by 1918. The Russians adopted the Julian calendar in 988 (yes, 988 AD) to begin with, along with the religion of Byzantium empire. Clearly, it would take more than mere 90 years to erase the centuries-set tradition to celebrate the New Year’s in a new manner, and not even the Soviet regime nor the World Wars were in power to alter that.
New year’s means presents, Christmas tree (usually a pine tree of sorts) and a night of fireworks outside and a non-stop television-accompanied party indoors. The television networks begin preparing for the New Year’s party broadcasts almost 6 months ahead. In the recent years, a celebrity – studded folk story-based musical was also shown.
Christmas is celebrated on the night from January 6th to January 7th, but I mentioned the two different Christmases in the beginning of this blog because some parishes of the Russian Orthodox church, the ones found in the West have been allowed to celebrate it on the 25th of December, along with the population in the countries where those parishes are found.
Below please find the array of postcards, from pre-revolutionary times to soviet cartoon character-endorsed ones.