Russia is one of the few countries in the world, where people celebrate the Old New Year - the holiday, which confuses many foreigners when they first hear about it. It’s not an official day-off, but many people take the celebration of the Old New Year rather seriously!
Russia was one of the few countries that refused to change to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and continued to celebrate all its holidays as before. The Old New Year is celebrated on January 14. According to the old, Julian calendar, it’s December 31, which means that the Old New Year is the actual New Year - just old style.
Since all religious holidays were banned in the Soviet Union, the only big-deal winter holiday that Russians had left was the New Year’s. But Russians love holidays too much to give up a day of celebration! To compensate for the loss of Christmas, Russians started to celebrate the Old New Year.
Although some very religious people nowadays try to celebrate January 14 as the real New Year, for most Russians the Old New Year is just a great a way to prolong the New Year’s celebrations and wish all the wishes they didn’t have time for on December 31!
“So Starym Novym Godom!”—Happy Old New Year, is the way to congratulate your Russians friends and colleagues on this a bit strange, but still fun holiday!