Millions of people are waiting for the New Year holidays to gather with friends and relatives. For some, they are simply associated with the reckoning, while others are associated with Santa Claus and gifts. Some believers associate the New Year traditions with Jesus Christ. There are many interesting facts about this holiday, which are worth knowing.
The advent of the holiday
The birthplace of the New Year is Mesopotamia. It was there, according to historians, that this holiday was celebrated, and it was 4000 years ago. The tradition was adopted by the Roman Empire. The chief priest of Rome had the right to independently determine the date of the celebration. At different time periods, the calendar changed several times. The New Year began to be celebrated on March 1, and in 153 BC It was postponed to January 1.
As for holiday gifts, this idea also belongs to the ancient Romans. At first it was various goodies that they treated each other, and later money.
Although the Orthodox Church approved the celebration for a long time, some difficulties arose in the territory of the 20th century. After the October events, the attitude to religious holidays, which included the New Year, has changed radically. The policy of atheism was actively introduced, so the attitude to this holiday was completely negative. New Year's attributes in the form of Santa Claus and Christmas trees were ridiculed and condemned.
But by 1935, leadership had changed its attitude. Denial of religious values only reduced the party’s rating, so it was decided to revive this holiday, but significantly change its role.
Transformation from religious to secular
It is worth noting that in an earlier version of the celebration, Santa Claus was always the central figure not of the New Year, but of Christmas. In many Western countries, this trend has persisted, only with Santa Claus. The Soviet government decided to leave this character, but remove it from the Christmas holidays, associating a key role with the New Year. Now the Christmas tree began to be called the New Year. The meaning of the January holidays has changed significantly, which allowed at least to some extent remove the religious connotation, to which the new government was intolerant.
The celebration became completely secular, and the religious coloring was removed, which was what the government wanted. The Christmas tree was decorated the same way, but religious notes were now absent. Toys to a greater extent reflected the development of the national economy or the achievement of the communist order. Together with bunnies and icicles, one could meet a sickle and a hammer, as well as tractors. Later, toy astronautics and moon rovers appeared.
Christmas itself went into oblivion and its meaning was rehabilitated much later. Santa Claus is still closely associated with the New Year, and not Christmas, as it was before.
The date of January 1 seems so familiar, but in Russia it was not always like that. For example, in Russia the New Year was celebrated on March 1, which marked the beginning of a new agricultural year, and this approach seems quite logical. In 1348, the Cathedral was held in Moscow, at which it was decided to postpone the holiday to September 1, and for a long time this date was considered official.
Everything changed the direction of Peter I. In 1699, he issued a decree to celebrate the New Year on January 1. This surprised the Russians. To emphasize the significance of such changes, Peter ordered to decorate the house with juniper branches and dress up. As an example, he organized an exemplary celebration in Gostiny Dvor. The order was introduced into the life of people with great difficulty, but Peter's persistence played a role. Over time, the celebration of January 1 became a good tradition and was no longer hostile.
Today, the New Year is a mixture of ancient Slavic and European traditions, and is also associated with Christianity.