Novy God

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Novogodnyaya yolka in Volokolamsk (Moscow Oblast) in 2010.

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

The Christmas tree was banned in the Soviet Union, but reinstated as the Новогодняя ёлка (Novogodnyaya yolka, "New-year fir-tree" in 1935, and remains part of the Russian New Year traditions. Grandfather Frost (a Santa Claus like figure) is said to bring presents to put under the tree with the help of his granddaughter Snegurochka (Russian: Снегурочка, "Snow Maiden").

The holiday was first positively made aware after Pavel Postyshev sent a letter to a public newspaper in 1936[1][2][3] and later accepted in 1947 as a holiday, from 1930 till 1947 it was just a regular work day,[4] but later it become a no-work day; till the early 1990s it was considered as the only acceptable public noncommunist celebration.

Novy God is a major holiday also 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 is also popular in many countries that were formerly part of the now-defunct Soviet Union. The coming of the new year is marked by the Kremlin Clock striking twelve. Immigrants and non Russian citizens often start to celebrate using the Russian time zone[2]

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] 1 September was used in Russia from 1492 until the adoption of the Christian Era in 1700 via a December 1699 decree of Emperor King Peter I

The week between New Year and Christmas (celebrated on 7 January, corresponding to Christmas Day according to the Julian Calendar) is usually taken off (Новогодние каникулы "New Year's holiday").

Novy God in Israel[edit]

Called with the Russian pronunciation "Novy God" (נובי גוד) and is different from the "new year eve" (consider as a different holiday)

As previously noted, many immigrants brought Novy-God celebrations to Israel, in cities with a large ex-Russian population (Ashdod, Nazareth illit, Be'er Sheva, 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]