In Russia until the XV century the winter holiday came March 1 according to the Julian calendar, symbolizing the awakening of nature, spring and new year of life. In the XV date of the new year was changed to 1 September, timing it to the harvest.
New Year — 1 January introduced the Russian reformer Tsar Peter the Great in 1699. Winter celebration of 1700 by royal order was celebrated for seven days. The owners of houses put Christmas trees in front of the gate, lit resin barrels every day, launched rockets, and in front of the Kremlin fell from two hundred guns. All this Peter the Great borrowed abroad, as did the tradition with the Christmas tree. Although before that in Russia the spruce was a mourning symbol and did not cause people festive feelings. But by the royal order “Rejoice and have fun!” could not be neglected.
By the end of the 19th century, the Christmas tree had become a familiar symbol of the New Year for urban and villagers. Decorated the Christmas tree with sweets and toys, crowned the eight-pointed Christmas star. By the New Year, the dough of figurines of horses, cows and bulls and other pets. When the house came to carol, guests were given these figures, sweets and nuts. It was considered a good sign to meet the New Year in a new dress and shoes, to give all debts, to forgive grievances and to put up with those with whom were in strife.
October Revolution banned all holidays as vestiges of the bourgeois past. The break was short lived, it became clear that without the holiday was boring. And the New Year brought back together with the Christmas tree and tradition of giving gifts.
Another symbol of the winter holiday is the fairy tale character Santa Claus. It first appeared on Christmas Day 1910, but did not gain widespread notoriety. In Soviet times there was a new image of Santa Claus, who was children and left under the Christmas tree gifts with her granddaughter Snow Maiden.
Traditions of New Year celebrations in Russia originate from different cultures. From Slavic paganism came folk revelers, skomorokhs, jesters, rowdy and divination. Traditional decorated Christmas trees and New Year carols brought Orthodox traditions. The era of the reformer Peter the First added fireworks and a New Year’s Day table.