10 facts about the New Year
1. Mesopotamia is the birthplace of the New Year
Historians claim that the tradition of celebrating the New Year originated in Mesopotamia more than 4 thousand years ago. Next, before the advent of the new era, Ancient Rome joined in the celebration. At first, the high priest of Rome personally decided when the new year would come, having the right to lengthen or shorten the year at will. Then the Roman New Year timed to March 1. And in 153 BC, the Romans began to celebrate it on January 1, combining with the election of a new consul - he took the oath on that day.
2. Christmas gifts - the invention of the Romans
This is the ancient Romans formulated the idea: how to celebrate the New Year, so spend it! Therefore, they tried to have fun, gave each other presents: first tasty food, and later money. Suetonius wrote that the emperor Octavian Augustus, for example, every New Year received a chest with money from interested citizens.
3. New Year holidays introduced by Peter I
Until 1492 in Russia, the new year, like at first among the ancient Romans, also came in March. Then it was moved to September - it was convenient and logical: you worked, reaped the harvest, there is something to celebrate, and most importantly than - full bins.But Peter the Great, the great unifier of all of Russia, ordered by his decree to go to the common European calendar and celebrate the New Year from the "1st of January 1700." This decree was read on the frontal spot - every half an hour the clerks followed each other and pronounced the text many, many times, so that no one would say later that he had not heard. The "deviationists" were threatened with the death penalty. Now, in the New New Year, it was supposed to be noisy for seven whole days, to shoot "from small cannons, if anyone has, from muskets and other small rifles, rockets and burning tar barrels." Well, the boyars also had to shave, drink, smoke, dance with the "minuvety" ladies. By the way, historians say that the parties of Peter the Great, although they stunned foreigners with their scale, they are still inferior to today's corporate parties.
4. Where in Russia the Christmas trees went
The New Year tree is also an innovation of Peter, which he “sketched” in Europe (if you go deeper into the centuries, the Christmas tree is the sacred tree of the ancient Celts and Germans, who hung on it in the forest with colorful rags, scaring so evil spirits). Although the king ordered to put Christmas trees only on the street, all the same people were terribly angry - well, where have you seen it, to worship, as nemchura,evergreen spines! And besides, the Russians have long been not very fond of the Christmas tree, they considered it a gloomy tree, and the cult of ancestors was associated with it. By the way, Peter has never indicated that it should be just a Christmas tree, on the contrary, the following options were allowed: “make some ornaments from the trees and branches of pine, spruce and juniper trees before the gate”. And when Peter did not decorate the tree - they themselves were decoration. After his death, the New Year trees stopped. Their “negative image” prevented them, as modern marketers would say. Only the owners of taverns continued to decorate the roofs of their establishments with a “pagan tree”, and these trees stood there all year round, serving as a pointer. Kabaks began to be called "Christmas trees", and the expression "to go under the tree" meant to go to the tavern. The needles were crumbled, the trees became sticks and the expression “trees-sticks” came to mean utter annoyance.
5. Why did the trees hang on the ceiling
In medieval Europe, it was decorated and decorated quite differently. Until Luther (and sometimes later, too), the tree did not even stand on the floor as usual, but hung upside-down against the ceiling. This was not some secret meaning, except for pure carnival fun and fun.On the upturned and suspended tree, all kinds of sweeter clung, at the appointed hour the doors opened and children burst into the room. With a screech, they bounced and ripped off the Christmas tree like a sticky one. so that the ideas of modern designers, offering innovatively hanging spruce from the ceiling, no not know-how, but, one might say, an old custom.
6. Luther came up with the Christmas tree
In Europe, the Christmas tree became 300 years earlier than in Russia (it was a New Year's Eve). According to legend, this was done by Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism. In order to somehow bring the totem tree closer to Christianity, he told his flock to decorate the tops of the holiday trees with the Bethlehem star, and place candles on the branches.
7. How the tree moved to the house
New Year's celebrations were revived under Catherine II. And the first “state tree” was organized in the late 1830s by Emperor Nicholas I. The tree moved from the street to Russian houses in 1840 — the Germans living in St. Petersburg were the first to bring it home. And they put the Christmas tree in advance, already on the Catholic Christmas and the tree stood until the very Epiphany. The citizens liked this custom so much that they began to install Christmas trees (now Christmas-New Year) in their homes. The well-to-do people hung rings, ribbons, earrings and beads on the Christmas tree.The peasants, who realized the benefits, began to arrange Christmas-tree markets just then. From the capital of the empire, this tradition spread throughout the country.
8. Christmas tree toys appeared because of the failure of apples
We in Russia began to decorate Christmas trees in the middle of the nineteenth century. First, delicacies: sweets, nuts in a bright wrapper, gingerbread, apples, and who is worse - pieces of sugar, vegetables and breadcrumbs in a rag better. Candles were burning on the branches, and a star was on the top. A shiny balls appeared relatively recently - about a hundred years ago. It is said that the first Christmas ball appeared because of the crop failure of apples. Fruit stocks for the winter ran out and the resourceful glass blowers of a small town in Bavaria to replace round apples blew balls!
And in the 1870s in America, a simple telegraph operator guessed to replace fire-hazardous candles with electric lights.
9. Prohibition and amnesty for Christmas trees
Immediately after the revolution, the Bolsheviks were not up to the trees. But in 1918, they still banned the celebration of the New Year, considering it a "bourgeois whim." Although Lenin and Krupskaya put their Christmas tree in Gorki, they nevertheless put (admittedly, at Christmas). Until 1936, the New Year tree “went underground”: only some families decided to arrange it and did it secretly, because it was possible to pay for such a violation very cruelly.
And then there was such a story.Stalin hinted to his comrades in a close circle: it would be nice to return the Christmas tree to Soviet children. Suppose, they say, someone takes the initiative, and I will allow. No sooner said than done. Party activist Pavel Postyshev writes a letter about “New Year is a good holiday” to Pravda, it is published and - hurray! - in 1936, literally in two days, Christmas decorations with portraits of the leader appeared on sale and in the Hall of Columns of the House of Unions they staged the first tree in the USSR for children and young people. In addition, all teachers were quickly handed a handbook "Christmas tree in kindergarten." And the Kremlin, the main Christmas tree of the country first lit in 1954. The Christmas star was replaced with a red five-pointed one, and decorations began to reflect plans for the next five years - first they were made in the form of tanks, airplanes, tractors, ships, steam locomotives, and under Khrushchev in the form of corn and other turnips with carrots, and then on the Christmas trees appeared trendy silver satellites, rockets and astronauts.
10. Sneguochka - Grandmother of Santa Claus
Our Santa Claus is lucky! Neither Santa Claus (aka Saint Nicholas), nor Finnish Yollupukki, nor the Italian Babo Nattala, nor his other New Year colleagues have such a pretty and young helper as Snow Maiden.We are accustomed to consider her grandfather of Santa Claus. But, if you dig deeper, Snegurka Santa Claus has a grandmother! Or even great-great-grandmother. We all know the Snow Maiden from the play-tale of Ostrovsky, where she came from folklore. But in the oldest tales of her, it turns out, her name is Kostroma, which, like Maslenitsa, is burned at the stake. And both of them, Kostroma and Maslenitsa, are nothing more than the ancient agrarian goddess of the Slavs. This is the lineage of our Snow Maiden. Santa Claus himself is much younger than his “granddaughter”.