The Old New Year in Ukraine

Wintertime is magic. It is the period of endless holidays, fun and joy. Almost every person in the world is in love with such wonderful holidays as Christmas and New Year. People usually believe in miracles and these holidays are the symbols of hope and new wishes for them.

Nevertheless, Ukrainians are in double luck. They have not only New Year, but also the Old New Year, or the Orthodox New Year.

What does this holiday mean and how did it appear?

Tradition to celebrate the Old New Year comes from the differences between Julian calendar (the old style) and Gregorian calendar, which is used around the whole world now. The Old New Year is a rare historical phenomenon, the additional holiday, which appeared after the transition to the Gregorian calendar in 1918. Because of these differences, Ukrainians celebrate two New Years according to the old and new calendars. Therefore, every person has the opportunity to celebrate favorite winter holiday one more time on the night of the 14th of January.

There are different traditions, rites and rituals connected with the Old New Year in Ukraine. In the evening of the 13th of January children or young boys and girls, come to the neighbour houses singing the special songs named “shchedrivki”. They do it only after the sunset and can wear the Ukrainian suits and dresses. In addition, of course they are treated by money or sweets for their performances.

This evening the members of the family are gathered at the big table and have a generous dinner, or “shchedra vecheria” like it is called in Ukraine. The compulsory dish of this dinner is Kutia, which is a sweet porridge with raisins or dried fruit. Another compulsory attribute of the table is any dish made of pork.

The night of the Old New Year is the perfect time for divination. Young ladies get together in small groups and divine. They want to see their future and of course to know something about their soul mates. It is generally believed that you can see the prophetic dreams, so the ladies believe that they can see their betrothed. One of the most famous way to do it is to put your comb under the pillow and your future husband will come and brush your hair in the dream.

The most important rite of the Old New Year in Ukraine should be done in the morning of the 14th of January. This rite is called “posivannya”. The first person who can enter your house should be male. When he enters the room, he should throw wheat or some grain on the floor saying the special poems, which wish you happiness and good luck for the whole year. In addition, you should give him a little gift like sweets or money. You cannot clean the wheat or grain until the next day or you can sweep away your luck.

The foreign people are usually very surprised about the existence of such holiday as the Old New Year in Ukraine and often joke about this. However, this holiday isn’t celebrated only in Ukraine or post-Soviet countries, it is also popular in Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Herzegovina and even in Montenegro.

Besides, there is an analogue of the Old New Year in Wales, which is called Hen Galan festival. It symbolizes the beginning o the year according to Julian calendar. On this day children go from door to door and get gifts.

Anyway, every holiday is a good reason to become happier and enjoy life!