“Due to the transition after the revolution to the Gregorian calendar, the New Year precedes Christmas, when Orthodox Christians are fasting. For church people, there is some inconvenience in this. Since the Russian Church did not switch to the Gregorian calendar, we got a strange conflict. And as a result, another holiday appeared – the Old New Year, and on this day believers no longer have restrictions related to fasting,” he explained.
The historian recalled that January 1 became a New Year’s holiday by decree of Peter I. Before the revolution, Russia lived according to the Julian calendar: then Christmas was celebrated on December 25, at the end of Lent.
“After the revolution, the New Year absorbed the attributes of celebrating Christmas — a traditional Christmas tree, gifts to each other, a festive feast, in the conditions of Soviet reality, the holiday took root because there was no politicization in it,” the agency interlocutor said.
The decree on the transition of Russia to a new chronology and the postponement of the beginning of the year from September 1 to January 1, Peter I signed on December 20, 1699. The document prescribed congratulating each other on the New Year and decorating houses with pine and juniper branches. The tradition did not take root immediately — the Christmas tree became an integral attribute of Christmas and New Year only by the end of the XIX century. After the revolution, in the 1920s, the Bolsheviks banned celebrating Christmas and decorating Christmas trees.
The holiday returned to the USSR in 1935 — then the first New Year’s children’s matinee was organized. The Christmas tree has become a New Year’s tree. On the eve of 1938, a 15-meter Christmas tree with 10 thousand ornaments was placed in the Column Hall of the House of Unions, and later it became the main Christmas tree of the country. Since 1976, the Christmas tree in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses has been considered the main one.