MONDAY, JANUARY 14: Happy Old New Year! Nope, that’s no misnomer—today begins the Orthodox New Year, also known as the Julian New Year or the Old New Year. (As opposed to the Jan. 1 New New Year.) During the 20th and 21st centuries, the Julian calendar places the Old New Year at January 14, so all adherents—from Macedonians worldwide to those in Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia, Ukraine and Switzerland—use the day to visit family and friends, begin resolutions and partake in traditionally large meals. In Russia, where the Jan. 1 holiday reigns strong, attitudes remain relaxed until the Julian New Year. (Get a Russian perspective from an article in the Russia & India Report.) Termed “New Year holidays,” this span of time usually results in an annual decline in industrial productivity throughout the country.
While typically not celebrated as raucously as its Jan. 1 alternative, the Old New Year is nostalgic for many, filled with traditional singing and family gatherings. (Wikipedia has details.) In Macedonia, breads are baked with a coin, and on New Year’s Eve, the person who finds the coin in his part of the pita is said to be granted good luck for the coming year.
Note: The Julian New Year marks a celebratory holiday and not the beginning of a new calendar year; the Orthodox calendar year begins in September.