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Old New Year in Russia and its meaning for your business

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Old New Year. What on Earth is that?

Old New Year is a celebration taking place on January 13-14th in Russia, as well as in Eastern Europe and some of the former Soviet Republic countries.

Why are there two celebrations for the New Year?

Before 1918, the Julian calendar was used in Russia.

In 1918, secular Russia opted for the Gregorian calendar (currently in use), whereas Russian Orthodox Church kept the Julian one. The Julian calendar is used to calculate the dates of Eastern Orthodox celebrations.

The difference between 2 calendars is now 13 days, which is why, according to the Julian calendar, New Year falls on 13-14th January.

Who celebrates it?

Everyone celebrates it in Russia. However, this non-official festivity has nothing to do with the religion. It’s just an opportunity to gather together once again, dress up and sit around a festive table.

Fun facts

  • According to the tradition, the Christmas tree in Russian homes is not taken down until the Old New Year.

  • It is considered bad luck to borrow or loan money during this time.

  • Old New Year finishes a period of 14 days of celebrations including New Year (1st Jan) and Orthodox Christmas (7th Jan). That’s a lot of food and drink to endure!

How do I use it for my business?

  • On the 14th of January, reach out to your Russian colleague, client or partner and say S Novym Godom!* They will be impressed by your knowledge

  • Send them a small gift. Russia is a gift-giving country, a reciprocal gesture will follow soon.

  • Displaying curiosity for the local traditions and exchanging gifts helps building strong relationships with your network. It’s essential for business in Russia.

*Happy New Year!

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