Ukraine loves holidays, and the most popular holiday of the year is New Year! People have several New Year parties around that time- at work, with friends, family and relatives. They know how to celebrate! Ukrainians love New Year. They believe that all the troubles and problems will end when the “old year” ends; and New Year will bring happiness and joy, and definitely will be better than the old one. Most Ukrainians watch the celebration of New Year on the main Russian TV channel “Channel One”, which was the first television channel to broadcast in the Soviet Union. It’s been a tradition for many years to watch how the Kremlin’s Spassky Clock Tower chimes in the “new year”. Everybody counts together “five, four, three, two, one”, and yells “Happy New Year.” Everybody’s heart goes “bum-bum-bum.” Ukrainian/ Russian people say that if you make a wish, while counting down the final seconds of the “old year”, it will definitely come true. Another tradition that some young people follow is, during the count down of the final seconds, to write a wish on a paper, then quickly burn it, throw it into a glass of sparkling wine, and drink the whole glass right at 12 o’clock. The wish is supposed to come true. Even I did it couple times. And what’s funny, my wishes did come true. Coincidence? Maybe.
Ukrainians and Russians don’t celebrate New Year once a year. They do it twice! It is all thanks to a transition from Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar after the October Revolution in October 1917 (Julian calendar). The Russian government issued a Decree that Wednesday, 31 January 1918 was to be followed by Thursday, 14 February 1918. They dropped 13 days from the calendar. Since then, Ukrainians and Russians celebrate “Old New Year” on January 14, just like a century ago. It’s considered to be an informal traditional Slavic Orthodox holiday. On this day people usually get together with their families and have a nice family time with traditional holiday meals, singing and dancing. “Old New Year’s Day” ends a New Year celebration till the next year.
Happy “Old New Year”, everyone ! Hope all your dreams come true this year!