I would like to talk about the difference between two calendars in this post. We entered 2022 on January 1st. However, this is according to the new Gregorian calendar used worldwide. Slavic tradition is connected to paganism and Christianity, dating from the age older than the Roman Empire when Ceasar constructed the Julian calendar, considered an old calendar. According to the Julian calendar, Slavs map time a bit differently. New Year’s Eve falls on January 13th, and the year is 7530, which is known as an Old New Year’s Eve. Put side-by-side, it seems like an Old Year comes at the beginning of New Year, which brings in confusion. Gregorian New Year starts earlier or later, depending on how you look at the calendar. In short, the Julian calendar is hefty five millenniums older than the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Christians still honor an old calendar, as the church uses this one, making it a religious holiday more than a natural cycle. Christmas Eve’s are also different.
In Catholicism, December 25th is the day Christ was born, while in the Orthodox faith, Christ was born on January 7th. This brings several reasons to Slavs celebrate holidays because they respect both calendars. This is why Slavs like to say we got all of our winter holidays doubled. Just mind this. We miss December 25th but celebrate December 31st. On January 6th comes Christmas, and Old New Year on January 13th. There are also holidays in between those big holidays like the day of Holy Mary, day of Saint Steven martyrdom, and after the Old New Year comes the day of the Cross, the day the God showed itself to people, day of Saint John, and a few purely Serbian holidays such as day of Saint Sava, the first scholar in Serbia that built churches and schools.
Now, I am not a religious person, but I respect the traditions and practice customs my family taught me. It is different from family to family, from house to house, from a village to a village, because the church gave liberty to people to pray to their God as they see it fit. I mean, freedom, and then there are five centuries of slavery when religious gatherings were not permitted. So, we wait for an Old New Year in my house as follows. We gather at the dinner table and snack on the leftovers from the supper because we don’t want to enter the New Year starving. Five minutes to midnight, we make a toast, exchange our wishes and hopes for the new year, and drink because we don’t want to enter the new year thirsty. Five minutes after midnight, it’s a family tradition to fetch a stack of money, and everybody counts the bills, but not correctly. We count all the money we want to have in the new year, so a ten dinar bill could be a hundred or a million dinars in our pocket. It’s a bit funny when you just hopefully count millions with a pocket change you had on you at the moment. After that, the kids go to bed, while the grown-ups stay to watch the music program, broadcast celebrations at the town squares where concerts are held for the masses, and some people like to watch broadcasted midnight church service.
I spent my Old New Year’s Eve with my family at home, working on a short story until 1 in the morning, and went to bed. I hope this year will be fruitful to me and my work and that I’ll earn the twelve million dinars I counted last night on novel sales.