Weekly “Arguments and Facts” No. 52. What to prepare for the New Year's table? 29/12/2021
On the question of the start date of the year, there is a ready answer: they say, on December 20, 1699, Tsar Peter I issued a decree numbered 1736, which introduced the chronology from the Nativity of Christ. Also, according to this decree, the New Year was supposed to be celebrated on the night of December 31 to January 1.
The answer is correct in its own way, but incomplete. He gives the impression that before Peter, in such an important matter as the beginning and end of the annual cycle, we had some kind of desert. It is rarely remembered that Peter did not introduce a new holiday, but only moved its date to January 1.
We will try to fill this gap. New Year's traditions in our country are rich and varied, and the holiday itself managed to visit not only winter, but also autumn and spring. & Nbsp;
Perhaps the most venerable holiday date should be considered the winter solstice: from December 21 to 22. This night is special, it was traditionally celebrated by many peoples. For example, the closest neighbors of the Slavs, the Germans, also celebrated the transition from long nights to long days. We called it “ Kolyado '', the Germans called it & mdash; Yule. It is curious that the Russian name almost accurately describes the general Slavic-Germanic custom. On the night of the solstice, it was supposed to imitate the actions of the Sun: they extinguished all the lights, and then kindled the newborn flame. And in the old fashioned way, with the help of friction, rotating a wooden spindle with an onion drill in the deck. According to one version, “ kolyado '' & mdash; and there is the same deck, that is, a stump, a log. By the way, the 'Christmas log' can still be found at any European fair. Both ours and the Germans preferred to see pork on the table that day. But the Slavs also baked korovai. This is exactly how & mdash; bread, stylized as a cow's head, with horns. A magical rite was associated with it, which, as it was believed, provided bread and a well-fed life in general. The elder of the clan hid behind a freshly baked cow and asked: “ Can you see me? '' This was followed by the answer: “ We do not see, grandfather, where are you? '' He straightened up and said: “ So that you won't see me the next year! '' The holiday lasted until the adoption of Christianity in 988. However, some traditions were passed on to Christmas and Christmastide.
With the adoption of Christianity, a new calendar style was adopted, dating back to the Roman republican calendar, according to which the New Year came on March 1. This was a very successful innovation, since spring is traditionally very important for our people. For example, during the time of Alexander Nevsky to the question “ How old are you? '' only a boyar or an educated merchant could answer. The commoner simply did not understand what it was about. But to the question “ Which spring did you go on? '' followed by a lightning-fast response. “ By the tenth '', & mdash; from a ten-year-old child, for example. Now from that holiday, reminiscent of the importance of spring in the old calendar, the word “ Peer '' remains. And another funny New Year's chorus, which is guaranteed to confuse our contemporaries: “ I sow, I blow, I sow, Happy New Year, congratulations! '' What other sowing season for the New Year, in the midst of winter?
The trick is that this chorus came to us from those times when the New Year was celebrated in the spring, hoping for gentle weather and a new harvest. The holiday itself was called Avsen, and those who celebrated were supposed to sing ritual songs-avsenki. Quoting them is not worth it, since the auxiliaries were designed to glorify fertility and childbearing & mdash; everything in the appropriate terminology, which is now rightly considered indecent. In addition, the Avsenki did not sing, but shouted & mdash; with a squeal and a flood.
This continued until 1492, when Prince Ivan III the Great married to the Byzantine princess Sophia Palaeologus , made a calendar reform in the Byzantine manner. In the Eastern Roman Empire, it was customary to celebrate the New Year on September 1. In Russia, the holiday took root: later, after the establishment of the patriarchate, the “ New Summer Action '', or the “ Rite of Passing the Summer '' was even created. The holiday is magnificent and solemn, with the participation of the tsar and the patriarch, so that everyone can see the symphony of secular and spiritual power. Between Matins and Mass, the tsar and the patriarch went out to the Ivanovskaya Square of the Kremlin to the ringing of bells, where a solemn prayer service was served. After the prayer service, congratulations were exchanged, first between the tsar and the patriarch, then & mdash; between the tsar and the boyars, and then the tsar congratulated everyone, and the whole square in response congratulated the tsar. The celebration ended with the distribution of gifts. The close ones got pies and food, and ordinary participants & mdash; money alms. The official part of the holiday ended there, and the festivities began. They, however, were of a very pious character. Since the new year marked, first of all, the beginning of a new church year, it was considered correct not only to attend all divine services and congratulate the elders in the family, but also to help the orphan, the poor, and the poor. So on September 1, an incredible variety of gifts were handed out. This is a custom that is still quite alive.
Well, September 1 was replaced by the decree of the king-carpenter on January 1. The holiday is emphatically secular, which, by the way, is confirmed by its origin. It also dates back to the times of Ancient Rome. There, for a long time, the coming of the New Year was also timed to coincide with spring. Specifically & mdash; to the Ides of March. However, in 153 BC. e. the date was moved to January 1 & mdash; the day on which the elected consuls took office. Julius Caesar finally approved the date of the New Year, having carried out the corresponding reform: the calendar from 46 BC. e. called Julian. European countries did not immediately switch to it and not everything: it only started with the beginning of an increased interest in the heritage of Antiquity. That is, from the era of the High Renaissance: the first quarter of the 16th century. The Venetian Republic became a pioneer in 1522. Little by little, the Holy Roman Empire, Portugal, Sweden, and Poland followed it … But if someone thinks that Russia is somewhere in the last places in this series, then he is very wrong. In England and Ireland, New Year celebrations on January 1 began more than half a century later than here: in 1752