вторник, 13 января 2009 г.

Happy Old New Year)))))

Second New Year bash in Russia

You might think that one New Year's celebration every 12 months is enough. But many Russians do it twice. Once on January 1st under the Gregorian calendar, and again two weeks later under the Julian calendar.

Even though the Gregorian calendar has been used in Russia since 1918, the Orthodox Church follows the Julian one. Its New Year begins on January 14.

Old New Year is not an official holiday, but it is still widely observed and enjoyed across Russia. It marks the end of the holiday cycle.

Strange as it may seem, the Julian new year is also celebrated in one remote corner of Great Britain.

Once upon a time the inhabitants of the secluded Gwaun Valley in Wales refused to accept a new calendar. Now - more than 200 years later - the people there continue to sing songs to celebrate the old Julian New Year - just as their ancestors did.

In 1752 the UK switched from the Julian calender to the Gregorian calendar. Russia did not make the switch until after the Bolsheviks came to power more than 160 years later.

After 1752 Hen Galan, the name of the old new year, was still celebrated because of a deep mistrust towards the new Gregorian calendar. But nowadays most villagers are not even sure where this tradition comes from.

“On January 13 children go around singing special songs that have been passed down through generations about Hen Galan, which is the Old New Year,” local teacher Envis Davis said.

Old-timers, like Muriel Morris, a member of the local parish and the church keeper, remember how it used to be.

“We’d go out at about 8am but we’d walk then - these days they go around in cars - there were no cars in my time. We used to go from place to place - if we had six pounds it was a lot in those days - and on the way back we were starving so we’d sit down and have an apple or an orange,” Muriel Morris said.

Legend has it that many years before - the villagers would walk from farm to farm with their arms linked and sing songs in Welsh on the residents’ doorsteps until they were allowed in to eat. And it may seem that all that is left from that today is the children’s trick-or-treating and a bowl of free soup at a New Year’s gathering.

But the scattered Welsh-speaking rural community hardly remembers the old traditions - how men would go shooting, how food would be prepared several days in advance and how a lot of people would open their houses for parties.

But the old ways still remain in other ways. The landlady of the Dyffryn arms - old Bessie - won’t let outsiders in. She’s had too many strangers around disrupting the atmosphere.

So, maybe there is more to Hen Galan than outsiders will ever understand. Maybe its traditions will carried by future generations of Welsh valley dwellers.

Source:Russia Today

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