Novy God

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Novogodnyaya yolka in Volokolamsk (Moscow Oblast) in 2010.

Novy God (Russian: Новый Год) is the Russian phrase for "New Year", and also designates the Russian New Years' Day celebration.

Russia used 1 September as the start of each new year from 1492 until a December 1699 decree of Tsar Peter I mandated the adoption of the Christian Era in 1700.

Authorities banned the Christmas tree in the Soviet Union, but reinstated it as the Новогодняя ёлка (Novogodnyaya yolka, "New-year fir-tree" in 1935; it remains part of the Russian New Year traditions. Grandfather Frost (a Santa Claus-like figure) allegedly brings presents to put under the tree with the help of his granddaughter Snegurochka (Russian: Снегурочка, generally translated as "the Snow Maiden").

The day first gained some official Soviet sanction after Pravda published a letter from the Kiev functionary Pavel Postyshev on 28 December 1935.[1][2][3] Later (in 1947) it became accepted as a holiday; from 1930 till 1947 it remained just a regular working day,[4] but later it become a no-work day; until in the early 1990s it was considered[by whom?] as the only acceptable public non-communist celebration.

Novy God is a also major holiday in other countries of the former Soviet Union, marked by a massively produced Novogodni Ogonek (New Year's Party, literally: New Year's light): a televised celebration that includes performances from favorite pop singers and professional dance troupes, not unlike the Oscars or the MTV VMAs, with famous personalities and celebrities as presenters. It remains popular in many countries that formerly formed part of the now-defunct Soviet Union and in Soviet/Russian emigrant communities worldwide. The coming of the new year and the actual beginning of the celebration is marked by the Kremlin Clock striking twelve, i.e. at Moscow Time.[2]

Russians generally take the week between New Year and Christmas (celebrated on 7 January, corresponding to Christmas Day according to the Julian Calendar) off (Новогодние каникулы "New Year's holidays").

Novy God in Israel[edit]

It is called with the Russian pronunciation "Novy God" (נובי גוד) and is different from the "new year eve" (considered as a different holiday). As this holiday is defined as a nonreligious celebration, many non-Christian people still celebrate the holiday. As an example, in the Jewish parts of Israel with high number of ex-USSR immigrants a person might find lots of Novi God merchandise. In Israel there is a major conflict for those who celebrate the Novy-God (non-Christian): it is so common that a person could find newspapers explaining that immigrants are not celebrating the Christian new year,[5] to find anti-Novy God flyers, and almost every year a person would find anti-Novy God chain letters,[6] a bill that bans Santa and tree for showing in public places.[7]

In cities with a large ex-Soviet population (Ashdod, Nazareth Illit, Beersheba, Netanya,[8] Haifa[9]) festivals and celebration are created each year.[10][11][12][13]

A few interesting behaviors are witnessed, like the use of palm trees as New Year trees,[2] starting the celebration using the Russian time zone.[2]

It is common to allow Russian soldiers serving in noncombat facilities to get out on the 31st night for home to allow them to celebrate the holiday, however, there is no order that will force it,[14] this is sometimes is seen as an example of discrimination against Russian heritage (as on Sigd Ethiopian soldiers are entitled to have a vacation).

References[edit]