The history of the New Year in Russia and in Russia

New Year is the brightest, favorite and expected holiday. People around the world gladly celebrate it, but few people know the history of the New Year in Russia and in Russia.

Because of traditions, customs and religions, different nations meet the New Year in their own way. The process of preparation for the holiday, as well as the memories associated with it, causes a feeling of joy, care, happiness, love and pleasure.

On the eve of the New Year holidays in every home work is in full swing. Someone is decorating a Christmas tree, someone cleans up in a house or apartment, someone makes a festive menu, and someone makes a friendly decision on where to celebrate the New Year.

The history of the New Year in Russia

New Year is the favorite holiday of the inhabitants of our country. People prepare for it, wait with great impatience, cheerfully meet and for a long time leave in memory in the form of pleasant pictures, vivid emotions and positive feelings.

History interests the few. And in vain, I tell you, dear readers. It is very interesting and long.

History before 1700

In 998, Prince Vladimir of Kiev in Russia introduced Christianity. After that, the change of years occurred on March 1. In some cases, the event fell on the day of Holy Pascha. Such chronology lasted until the end of the 15th century.

At the beginning of 1492, by order of Tsar Ivan III, they began to count the beginning of the year on September 1. So that the people began to respect the “September change of years”, the tsar allowed the peasants and noble nobles to visit the Kremlin that day in search of sovereign mercy. However, the people could not refuse the church calendar. For two hundred years, there were two calendars in the country and a constant mess of dates.

History after 1700

Peter I decided to correct the situation. At the end of December 1699, he promulgated the imperial decree, according to which the change of years began to be celebrated on the first of January. Thanks to Peter the Great in Russia there was confusion in the change of epochs. He threw one year away and ordered to regard the beginning of the new century as the year 1700. In other countries, the countdown of the new century began in 1701. The Russian tsar was mistaken for 12 months, therefore in Russia the change of epochs was noted a year earlier.

Peter the Great sought to introduce a European lifestyle in Russia.Therefore, he ordered to celebrate the New Year on the European model. The tradition of decorating the Christmas tree for the New Year holidays was borrowed from the Germans, for whom the evergreen tree symbolized loyalty, longevity, immortality and youth.

Peter issued a decree according to which for the New Year holidays in front of each yard, decorated pine and juniper branches should be displayed. Rich people were obliged to decorate whole trees.

Initially, vegetables, fruits, nuts and candies were used to decorate coniferous wood. Lanterns, toys and decorative items appeared on the Christmas tree much later. The Christmas tree first flashed lights only in 1852. It was installed in the Catherine station in St. Petersburg.

Until the end of his days, Peter the First ensured that the New Year in Russia was celebrated as solemnly as in European states. On the eve of the holiday, the king congratulated people, handed out gifts to the nobles from his own hands, presented expensive souvenirs to his favorites, and actively participated in fun and festivities at court.

The emperor arranged chic masquerades in the palace and ordered that fireworks be staged on New Year's Eve and firing cannons.Thanks to the efforts of Peter I in Russia, the celebration of the New Year became secular, not religious.

The Russian people had to go through many changes until the date of the New Year stopped on the first of January.

The story of Santa Claus

Christmas tree is not the only desirable attribute of the New Year. There is also a character who brings New Year's gifts. As you guessed, this is Santa Claus.

The age of this kind fairy-tale grandfather is over 1000 years old, and the story of the appearance of Santa Claus is for many a mystery.

It is not known exactly where Santa Claus appeared from. Each country has its own opinion. Some peoples consider Santa Claus to be a descendant of gnomes, others are convinced that his ancestors are wandering jugglers from the Middle Ages, and still others consider him to be Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.

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The prototype of Santa Claus - Saint Nicholas

At the end of the 10th century, the Eastern peoples created the cult of Nikolai Mirsky, the patron saint of thieves, brides, sailors and children. He was known for asceticism and good deeds. After his death, Nicholas Mirsky was given the status of a saint.

The remains of Nikolai Mirsky were kept in the eastern church for many years, but in the 11th century it was robbed by Italian pirates.They transported the relics of the saint to Italy. Parishioners of the church left to pray for the preservation of the ashes of St. Nicholas.

After some time, the cult of the wonderworker began to spread in the countries of Western and Central Europe. In European countries it was called differently. In Germany - Nikalayus, in Holland - Klaas, in England - Klaus. In the image of a white-bearded old man, he moved through the streets on a donkey or horse and handed out Christmas gifts to the children from the bag.

A little later, Santa Claus began to appear on Christmas. Not all churchmen liked it, because the holiday is dedicated to Christ. Therefore, Christ began to distribute gifts in the form of young girls in white clothes. By that time, people were accustomed to the image of Nicholas the Wonderworker and could not imagine the New Year holidays without him. As a result, grandfather received a young companion.

The robe of this fabulous old man also changed significantly. Initially, he wore a raincoat, but in the 19th century in Holland he was dressed up as a chimney sweep. He cleared the chimneys and lowered the gifts into them. By the end of the 19th century, Santa Claus was awarded a red fur coat with a fur collar. Outfit entrenched him for a long time.

Santa Claus in Russia

Fans of festive symbolism considered that the domestic Santa Claus should have a homeland. In late 1998, the city of Veliky Ustyug was declared its residence, which is located in the northern part of the Vologda Oblast.

Some believe that Santa Claus is a descendant of the cold spirit of Frost. Over time, the image of this character has changed. Initially it was a white-bearded old man in boots with a long staff and a bag. He handed gifts to obedient children, and raised careless ones with a stick.

Later, Santa Claus became a kinder old man. He was not engaged in educational activities, but simply told terrible tales to the children. Later, he refused to scare. As a result, the image has become only good.

Santa Claus is a pledge of fun, dancing and gifts, which turns an ordinary day into a true holiday.

The story of the Snow Maiden

Who is the Snow Maiden? This is a young girl with a long braid in a beautiful fur coat and warm boots. She is the companion of Santa Claus and helps him to distribute Christmas gifts.


The story of the Snow Maiden is not as long as that of Grandfather Frost. The appearance of the Snow Maiden is obliged to the ancient Russian folklore traditions.Everyone knows this folk tale.

To the delight of himself, an old man with an old woman blinded a Snow Maiden from white snow. The snow girl came to life, received the gift of speech and began to live with the old men at home.

The girl was kind, nice and beautiful. She had long blonde hair and blue eyes. Upon the arrival of spring with sunny days, the Snow Maiden began to feel sad. She was invited to take a walk and jump over a big bonfire. After the jump, she was gone, as the hot flame melted her.

Regarding the appearance of the Snow Maiden, we can say that its authors are three artists - Roerich, Vrubel and Vasentsov. In their paintings they depicted the Snow Maiden in a snow-white sarafan and headband.

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Celebrate the New Year began long ago. Every year something changed and was added, but the main traditions passed through the centuries. People, regardless of social status and financial opportunities, spend the New Year holidays merrily. They decorate the house, cook, buy gifts.

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