Christmas and New Year are not the only favorite winter holidays in Ukraine. Yes, sometimes when people here start to celebrate, they just can’t stop doing it half a month then. Why not to celebrate the coming of the New Year twice: January 1 (New New Year) and January 14 (Old New Year)?

So here is another occasion for families and friends to get together – holiday with a contradictory name Old New Year or Lavish Evening. It is an informal traditional holiday usually celebrated not as festive as the New Year, but still this holiday has an interesting story and its own special traditions.

How did it appear?  

In 1918 the Gregorian calendar was officially adopted by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, but the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar. The difference between these two ways of chronology is two weeks.

What is special about this holiday?

Secular and orthodox traditions are combined in one celebrating. Here are some points that make Old New Year a special holiday.

  • Do you believe in superstitions?  Old New Year is a great time to get away with it. One of them is connected with an important dish of the table – varenyky with filling (surprise). If you get one with thread – New Year will bring you a trip, one with sugar – next year will be sweet and good, varenyk with button forecast you new things, flour filling stands for torments and beans – for children.
  • Fortune telling is a must if you are ready to know what waits for you! Of course, it is the most popular among unmarried women who desire to know something about their future promised husband.
  • Carol singing is a chance for children and youngsters to get some candies and may be even pocket money. They go from the door to door saying: “Lavish evening, good evening, may good people have good health” or other shchedrivky. Though this tradition is more widespread in villages and it would be quite a surprise to see it in the city nowadays. The symbol of procession is a star, because many years ago this holiday symbolized the change from winter to summer, from night to day.
  • On the 14th of January in the morning boys and men should go to house of their relatives or friends and “sow” the floors with grains of wheat and other seeds. This rite is very ancient and originates from pre-Christian times when grains symbolized abundant harvest.
  • If a man is the first man who enters the door that day – it is a good sign too. And if not all people follow the tradition of sowing these days, more people would pay attention to this superstition for sure.

As you know, it is common in Ukraine to celebrate holidays with a TV on the background, giving a look on old movies from time to time. Old New Year is not an exception, old New Year movies, which people already know by heart, are on the TV again: “Irony of Fate”, “Carnival Night”, “Moscow do not believe the tears”. Haven’t seen it yet? How come?

Yes, Old New Year is an old holiday that survived thousands of years and has many traditions. So now you won’t be surprised when a bunch of kids will come to sing Old New Year’s carols or when your Ukrainian lady will smile you even more after this holiday, maybe she saw your face while fortune telling;)