The Old New Year or the Orthodox New Year is an informal traditional holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian calendar. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the Old New Year falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendar. The same day is celebrated in India as the sun ends its southward journey and starts moving northward: Makar Sankranti.
Although the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar. The New Year became a holiday which is celebrated by both calendars.
As in most countries which use the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day in Russia is a public holiday celebrated on January 1. On that day, joyous entertainment, fireworks, elaborate and often large meals and other festivities are common. The holiday is interesting as it combines secular traditions of bringing in the New Year with the Christian Orthodox Christmastide customs, such as kolyada.
The New Year by the Julian calendar is still informally observed, and the tradition of celebrating the coming of the New Year twice is widely enjoyed: January 1 (New New Year) and January 14 (Old New Year).
Usually not as festive as the New New Year, for many this is a nostalgic family holiday ending the New Year holiday cycle (which includes Eastern Orthodox Christmas on January 7) with traditional large meals, singing and celebratory drinking.
The Old New Year (Serbian: Стара Нова година/Stara Nova godina) is commonly called the Serbian New Year (Српска Нова година/Srpska Nova godina), and sometimes the Orthodox New Year (Православна Нова година/Pravoslavna Nova godina) and rarely Julian New Year (Јулијанска Нова година/Julijanska Nova godina).
The Serbian Orthodox Church, with traditional adherence in Serbia (including Kosovo), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia, celebrates its feasts and holidays according to the Julian calendar.
A part of the population celebrates Serbian New Year in a similar way as the New Year on January 1. This time, usually one concert is organized in front of either City Hall or the National Parliament (in Belgrade), while fireworks are prepared by the Serbian Orthodox Church and fired from the Church of Saint Sava, where people also gather. Other cities also organize such celebrations. Restaurants, clubs, cafes and hotels are usually fully booked and organize New Year's celebrations with food and live music.
A traditional folk name for this holiday as part of Twelve Days of Christmas is Little Christmas (Мали Божић/Mali Božić). Some families continue with the procedures of Serbian Christmas traditions.
The holiday in Macedonia is known as "Old New Year" (Стара Нова година) or as Vasilica ( St.Vasil/Васил). Late on January 14, people gather outside their houses, in the center of their neighborhoods where they start a huge bonfire, and drink and eat together. Traditional Macedonian music is sung. For those who stay at home, it is tradition to eat home-made pita with a coin inside. Whoever finds the coin in his part is said to have luck during the year.
Macedonians around the world also celebrate the holiday, especially in Australia, Canada and United States where the Macedonian Orthodox Church has adherents.
The tradition of the Old New Year has been kept in Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly in Republika Srpska), Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Moldova, Ukraine (Malanka), Wales (as Hen Galan) and Switzerland (as alter Silvester). In Scotland, the Old New Year has traditionally been held on 12 January. In the first half of the 20th century, large segments of the Scottish Gaelic community still observed the feast and today, it is still marked in South Uist and Eriskay as Oidhche Challaig and as Oidhche Challainn in Glenfinnan. Also in Scotland, the coastal town of Burghead in Morayshire celebrates the eve of the Old New Year with "The Burning o' the Clavie". Old New Year is the 12th of January in this district as well.
The Berbers of North Africa (from Morocco to Libya) traditionally celebrate the New Year on the "Berber calendar", which is very close to the Julian calendar. Because of certain calendar errors, the "Berber New Year" is celebrated in some areas on the 12th, rather than 14th, of January.
The Old New Year tradition has received mention in Russian art; the playwright Mikhail Roshchin wrote a comedy drama called The Old New Year in 1973, which was on stage in the theaters for many years. He also made it a screenplay for the TV-film which was played by famous actors and featured music by Sergey Nikitin, with the poetry lyrics by Boris Pasternak; the film was released by Mosfilm studios in 1980.