Why Russians celebrate New Year’s, and not Christmas, with the New Year’s Tree?
That’s because the tradition of celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next with a decorated and lit up green tree, symbolizing the new growth and new prosperity is a pagan tradition that by far predates Christianity. Much later it was adopted by Christianity to coincide with the designated birth of Christ – Dec. 25. In fact the Western Christmas continues symbolizing death and rebirth. The year’s shortest day is around this time of year, during Dec 22 Winter Equinox. After this the day again begins getting longer, thus denoting rebirth of the new year and new hope. The tradition itself predates any cultures and any religion known today – it was born in the day when humans were still united.
The proper Russian Orthodox Christian Christmas (Rus: Kreshchenie) is celebrated one week after New Year’s, on January 7-8. The tradition for that holiday is to eat ‘sviata vecherya, ‘ aka, the sacred supper thus repeating with your friends and family the last supper of Jesus. This is often hosted by local churches. The Krestniy Hod starts at midnight, during which everyone walks around the church, the block, and/or an area of a city with candles, icons and church banners, while singing Russian church songs. This tradition goes very deep in history, back to the ancient Vedic/pagan times as well. It is a combined blessing and space clearing of one’s land, ushering in the light and positive affirmation for all present.
I’ve gone to a couple of these in Manhattan in the ’90s, and it was pretty cool. Police had stopped the traffic in the part of the upper East Side of Manhattan, to allow the Krestniy Hod through.
And of course, the traditional Russian ice bathing – Rus: Kreshchenskie Kupania! Should never forget about that! Extremely cold, but you really do feel like you’ve been reborn – if you can stomach it! I have a pic of the Russian ice bathing in my classic post: How Russians Celebrate New Year: Happy NY 2014 and Happy 100,000 Visits to Lada Ray Blog!
There is also what is called ‘the Old New Year,’ still celebrated by many two weeks after traditional New Year, on Jan. 14-15 of the contemporary calendar. Why is that? What is now called the ‘Old New Year was the actual New Year’s before the 1917 Revolution.
The Origin of ‘Calendar’ and Christmas/New Year’s FORBIDDEN HISTORY!
This was the New Year’s date according to the old Russian Gregorian Calendar, where leap year wasn’t taken into account. Lenin changed that in 1918 to coincide with the Western calendar. Initially, the original Russian Vedic Calendar was thrown out and substituted for the Western one by Peter the Great, counting years from the birth of Christ.
However, in doing so, much of history was distorted and silenced. Now, the truth is being re-discovered. In reality, the true ancient Russian calendar (actually, the calendar shared by all Slavic cultures) was over 5,000 years old – and that wasn’t the beginning of all things, because year one was counted from the peace treaty with the Dragon (some interpret it to mean China, but I have a different, much more esoteric, theory).
Next, to fit into the new shortened calendar, the history of Russia and other Slavic lands was deliberately shortened and falsified to make it seem less significant and subordinate to other cultures. In reality, the truth appears to be this: over 1000 years ago at least all of Europe lived by the same old Slavic calendar. The exact date is hard to pinpoint, but we have to assume that the year 1000 was some sort of major threshold, another one being 2000 years ago.
The reason the new Western calendar became prevalent has to do with the previous tectonic Earth Shift of the Human Civilization towards the West: individual, yang, aggressive, assertive, outgoing. In more mundane terms it manifested in the power struggle between various national identities and overlords’ interests that formed around that period. In religious terms, it was the power struggle between the Vedic/pagan system and the new organized religions. At the same time it was the fight between younger Catholic Vatican and older Orthodox Byzantium, as well as between Christianity and Islam, in which the Vatican and Catholicism won.
The word Calendar itself is an ancient Rus/Slavic word, not Latin, as many think.
It comes from: Colo-dar – orig. spelling: Kolo-dar. Kolo means ‘circle’ and ‘sun.’ Dar is ancient Rus for gift. Therefore: Kolo-dar (colo-dar) means the gift of the sun. Alternatively: gift of the circle of the year. This in turn means: the gift, or blessing, of the ever revolving circle of seasons and karma.
How Latin langauge came to be and where it really came from is a whole different and fascinating mystery altogether. But that’s another story, which I might tell one day.
For now, let’s see how Kolo-dar became Calen-dar. Anyone who studied Latin knows that in it ‘K’ becomes ‘C.’ So, the original Kolo became Colo and later was distorted to Cale. Calen = of Cale – this added ‘n’ is also of Rus origin. Contemporary Russian word: Kalendar-n-y = from or of calendar.
The contemporary word that shows the evolution of kolo-colo-cale is: ‘calle’ – the word for street in Romanic languages. A street in the old days, before pavement, was made by constant movement of carriages along a path. Carriages used wheels, or kolo = colo, modified in time to cale. It later became calle.
Please read this post in conjunction with the original post: