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January 13-14

All countries in Eastern Europe use the Western (Gregorian) calendar, but the Russian Orthodox Church (+ Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox Church) uses the Julian calendar, so that 'Orthodox New Year' falls annually on January 14. Also: Julian New Year, Serbian New Year or Old New Year.

In some Eastern European countries the New Year is celebrated twice. 1 January is a public holiday, while 14 January is an unofficial holiday. In Russia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and former Soviet republics it is known as 'Old New Year'. In Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina it is usually called 'Serbian New Year'.

In Russia 'Old New Year' is a somewhat nostalgic holiday. In some regions secular New Year traditions are combined with orthodox Christmas customs. In Serbia it is celebrated in the same way as the New Year on 1 January. Many cities organize concerts, fireworks shows and carnivals, while in Macedonia people celebrate New Year's Eve outside in the streets with snacks, drinks and bonfires.


The celebration of St. Vasilie (Vasilica, Old New Year) coincides with the period of the unbaptized, evil days. From a Christian religious point of view, this is a nursing period of the Holy Mother, during which the mother and God must be protected from evil influences. Today, masked people (karachi) fill bags with gifts, and the children collect wood, and place it on Kamara. On the morning of St. Vasilie the elders build a big fire - tutija. With song and dance they symbolically represent the sun, and the people (Survari) scare off the bad and evil spirits.

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