Orthodox New Year

This holiday is a New Year’s celebration for those following the Julian calendar on January 14, which typically includes Orthodox Christians. It is usually celebrated with a feast, dance, and special church services, sometimes referred to as “Old New Year.” While Orthodox Christians live all over the world, many are concentrated in Russia and Eastern Europe, the origins of many Orthodox Christians living in the United States today. While still featuring a festive nature, this New Year’s celebration is more reflective in theme than the common January 1st celebration. Although the Gregorian calendar is more common today, the Julian calendar is older. January 1st on the Gregorian calendar is January 14th on the Julian calendar.

Traditions

  • Like the January 1st celebration, this New Year’s features fireworks, feasting, and a gathering of loved ones.
  • Some cultures celebrate with a formal dance.
  • Many families attend a special New Year’s church service.
  • Some celebrations have combined Orthodox New Year’s with koleda, a pre-Christian festival honoring winter and the end of the year.
  • In Macedonia, people gather outside of their neighborhoods or in public squares for a bonfire and feast. Some Macedonians will make pitas hidden with a coin inside, bringing good luck to whoever receives a pita with the coin.

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