Events listed on this calendar by no means represent all activities going on in FRUA INC chapters, nor are listed events necessarily sponsored by FRUA. To submit your event information for posting on this site, e-mail details to: Outreach@frua.org. This calendar will be updated monthly by site volunteers so plan plenty of lead time if you have an event you would like posted.
New Year's Day Ethnic Holidays
January 01, 2015, All Day
January 1-2. This is a time to bid the old year goodbye by gathering at friend’s or family’s homes and sharing traditional foods together. Bars and restaurants are often filled with partiers, and at the stroke of midnight, people will spill into the streets, often with drinks in hand, to shout and yell, bringing in the new year. Fireworks light up the sky in its own reverie. Children look forward with anticipation to receiving gifts from the adults at this time as well.
It is one the most favorite of all holidays in Ukraine. As in Western countries on Christmas Eve, Ukrainians give "New Year" presents, Children receive their presents under the New Year Tree on the morning of the 1st of January. Traditionally just prior to midnight there's a Presidential speech broadcast nationally. When the clock strikes Midnight, people pop open thier champaign bottles and raise a toast. With the first glass they congratulate each other as the clock strikes 12 times and fireworks fill the sky. The week before the New Year is a busy one with shopping, parties at work, decorating pine and fir-trees, and cooking the years most delicious meals. The main folk heroes of this holiday are Father Frost (Did Moroz) and his grand-daughter "Sniguron'ka" (The Snow Girl). The tradition of predicting fortunes on this night is very popular among young people.
A peculiar tradition includes writing down on a piece of paper your wish for the coming year, then dropping it in to your champagne and drinking it as the clock stikes twelve times. Another "fun" folk tradition pacticed mainly in the villages on New Year night is for the unmarried girls to go outside and throw one of thier boots over the Hosts' fence. Whichever way the toe of the boot ends up pointing indicates where the future husband will come from. Nearly all businesses remain closed from December 31st to January 8th.
Perhaps, New Year in Tajikistan became a favorite, long-awaited and magic holiday as before, only the last few years. The country, which did not yet fully recover from the consequences of the civil war, has been devoid of all New Year joys for a long time. Today the situation is changing for the better: the holiday comes to cities, villages and every house… The cities’ streets are decorated with garlands, flashlights and other tinsels.
Behind the windows of the houses one can see shadow-figures of New Year Trees and the courtyards smell with tasty flavor… The metropolitan authorities make every effort for the citizens to celebrate this holiday lively and memorably. The Dushanbe parks host festive events. And the metropolitan square “Dusti” where the largest New Year tree is installed became the place to hold a grandiose fair in day time and in the evening, to hold a festive concert with participation of Tajik pop stars, crowned with majestic fireworks.
The Day of Destiny (Georgia) Ethnic Holidays
January 02, 2015, All Day
Georgians celebrate “Bedoba”, The Day of Destiny, or Fortunes Day, on January 2.
“Bedi” means the fate. According to the traditions, the whole year will pass in the same way as you spend your time on “Bedoba”. That is why Georgians enjoy the day with their friends and loved ones.
There is no lack of fun on this day!
Orthodox Christmas (Armenia) Ethnic Holidays
January 06, 2015, All Day
The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6th. This day it also celebrates the 'Epiphany' (which means the revelation that Jesus was God's son). Epiphany is now mainly the time Churches remember the Visit of the of Wise Men to Jesus; but some Churches, like the Armenian Apostolic Church, also celebrate the Baptism of Jesus (when he started his adult ministry) on Epiphany.
Some Armenians fast (don't eat anything) in the week before Christmas. The Christmas Eve meal is called khetum 'Խթում'. It often includes dishes such as rice, fish, nevik 'նուիկ' (green chard and chick peas) and yogurt/wheat soup called tanabur 'թանապուր'. Desserts includes dried fruits and nuts, including rojik (whole shelled walnuts threaded on a string and encased in grape jelly), bastukh (a paper-like dessert made of grape jelly, cornstarch and flour). This lighter menu is designed to ease the stomach off the week-long fast and prepare it for the rather more substantial Christmas Day dinner. Children take presents of fruits, nuts, and other candies to older relatives.
Santa Claus Gaghant Baba / Kaghand Papa traditionally comes on New Year's Eve (December 31st) because Christmas Day itself is thought of as more of a religious holiday in Armenia.
In Armenian Happy/Merry Christmas is Shnorhavor Amanor yev Surb Tznund (Շնորհավոր Ամանոր և Սուրբ Ծնունդ) (which means 'Congratulations for the Holy Birth').
At the beginning of December a big Christmas Tree (Tonatsar) is put up in Republic Square in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
Favorite and traditional Holiday foods in Armenia include Anooshaboor (Armenian Christmas Pudding), Khozee bood (glazed ham) and dried fruits. Every house is ready with lots of sweets because anyone might knock on the door and come in for a party!
Koleda / Orthodox Christmas (Christian) Ethnic Holidays
January 07, 2015, All Day
Christmas in Russia (Рождество Христово Rozhdestvo Khristovo) is observed, on 7 January, as a public holiday according to the Julian calendarused by the Russian Orthodox Church. The public holiday was re-established in 1991, following the decades of suppression of religion and state atheism of the Soviet Union. Christmas on 25 December is celebrated in Russia by the Roman Catholic and various Protestant churches, but is not a public holiday.
In Serbia and Montenegro, the main Church is the Orthodox Church and they still use the old 'Julian' Calendar, which means that Christmas Eve in on 6th January and Christmas Day in on the 7th January in the Orthodox Church starts on 28th November and last for six weeks. During Advent, some people fast and they don't eat food that comes from animals (meat, milk, eggs, etc.).
On Christmas Eve, families gather and all families fast and don't eat food that comes from animals. It is the last day of the Christmas fast. Christmas is a very religious holiday and most people go to the Christmas Services.
There are a lot of old Serbian traditions associated with the countryside, which have now lost their meaning because more people live in towns and cities. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the father of the family used to go to the forest to cut a young oak called the 'Badnjak' (Christmas Eve tree) but today people just buy one. Under the table there should also be some straw as a symbol of the stable/cave where Jesus was born.
At Christmas a special kind of bread is eaten. It's called 'cesnica' and each member of the family gets a piece (and the house does too). There is a coin hidden in it and whoever gets the coin will be particularly fortunate in the next year!
In Serbian Happy/Merry Christmas is Hristos se rodi (Христос се роди) - Christ is born Vaistinu se rodi (Ваистину се роди) - truly born (reply).
People in Serbia and Montenegro also celebrate St. Nicholas' Day, but on the 19th December. During the time when Serbia and Montenegro was under communist control (after World War II until about 15 years ago), the communist government didn't like St. Nicholas or Santa Claus, so they had their own version called Grandfather Frost (Дедa Мрaз / Deda Mraz) or Christmas Brother (Божић Бата / Božić Bata), who came on New Year's Eve.
Traditional Serbian customs have also mixed with western customs. For example people also have Christmas Trees but they are decorated on New Year's Eve, not at Christmas!
Koliada or koleda (Cyrillic: коляда, коледа, колада, коледе) is an ancient pre-Christian winter ritual/festival. It was later incorporated into Christmas.
The word is still used in modern Belarusian (Каляда, Kalada, Kalyada), Russian (Коляда, Kolyada),Polish (kolęda [kɔˈlɛnda]), Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian (Коледа, Коледе) and Bosnian, Croatian,Czech, Slovak, Slovene (koleda), and Greek: Κόλιαντα (Kolianda). One theory states that Koliada is the name of a cycle of winter rituals stemming from the ancient calendae. Others believe it derived from Kolo, "round dance".
Another speculation is that it derived from the Bulgarian/Macedonian word "коля/колам" (kolia/kolam), which means "to slaughter", possibly referring to the preparation of the Christmas feast, or to the Massacre of the Innocents. Some claim it was named after Kolyada, the Slavic god of winter or Koliada, the goddess who brings up a new sun every day.
In modern Ukrainian, Russian (koliada), Czech, Croatian (koleda), Kashubian kòlãda, Romanian (colindă) and Polish (kolęda [kɔˈlɛnda], Old Polish kolenda) the meaning has shifted from Christmas itself to denoting the tradition of strolling, singing, and having fun on Christmas Eve, same in the Balkan Slavs. It specifically applies to children and teens who walk house to house greeting people, singing and sifting grain that denotes the best wishes and receiving candy and small money in return. The action is called kolyadovanie in Ukrainian and is now applied to similar Old East Slavic celebrations of other old significant holidays, such as Generous Eve (Belarusian: Шчодры вечар, Ukrainian: Щедрий вечiр) the evening before New Year's Day, as well as the celebration of the arrival of spring. Similarly in Bulgaria and Macedonia, in the tradition of koleduvane(коледуване) or koledarenje (коледарење) around Christmas, groups of boys visiting houses, singing carols and receiving a gift at parting. The boys are called 'koledari' or rarely 'kolezhdani' who sing kolyadka (songs).
Koleda is also celebrated across northern Greece by the Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia, in areas fromFlorina to Thessaloniki, where it is called Koleda (Κόλιντα, Κόλιαντα) or Koleda Babo (Κόλιντα Μπάμπω) which means "Koleda Grandmother" in Slavic. It is celebrated before Christmas by gathering in the village square and lighting a bonfire, followed by local Macedonian music and dancing.
Croatian composer Jakov Gotovac wrote in 1925 the composition "Koleda", which he called a "folk rite in five parts", for male choir and small orchestra (3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, timpani and drum). There is also a dance fromDubrovnik called "The Dubrovnik Koleda."
The ancient god of the underworld Veles was known to regularly send spirits of the dead into the living world as his heralds. Festivals in his honour were held near the end of the year, in Winter, when time was coming to the very end of world order, chaos was growing stronger, the borders between worlds of living and dead were fading, and ancestral spirits would return amongst the living. This ancient celebration of Velja noc (Great Night) still persists in folk customs of Koleda, which can happen anywhere from Christmas up to end of February.
In pre-Christian Croatia, "koleda" was a celebration of death and rebirth at the end of December in honour of the sun and god - Dažbog, whose power once more begins to increase in those days. Krijes, meaning bonfire in Croatian, is another festival honouring the sun, during the summer at the time of his greatest strength; a celebration for good harvest.
St. Stephen's/Republic Day (Srpska) Ethnic Holidays
January 09, 2015, All Day
According to the Law on Holidays of Republika Srpska, passed by the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, the holidays are divided into three categories: the republic holidays, the religious ones, and the holidays not accompanied by leaves of absence. The republic holidays include Republic Day (9 January), New Year's Day,International Workers' Day, Victory over Fascism Day and Day of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (21 November). The religious holidays include Christmas and Easter according to both theJulian and the Gregorian calendars, for the Orthodox and the Catholic citizens respectively, and Eid al-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr for the Muslims. The holidays not accompanied by leaves of absence include School Day (the Feast of Saint Sava, 27 January), Day of the Army of the Republika Srpska (12 May), Interior Ministry Day (4 April), and Day of theFirst Serbian Uprising (14 February).
The most important of the republic holidays is Republic Day, which commemorates the establishment of Republika Srpska on 9 January 1992. It coincides with St. Stephen's Day according to the Julian calendar. The Orthodox Serbs also refer to the holiday as the Slava of Republika Srpska. They regard Saint Stephen The Protomartyr And Archdeacon as the patron saint of Republika Srpska. The holiday has therefore a religious dimension, being celebrated with special services in Orthodox churches.
Old New Year / Little Christmas Ethnic Holidays
January 14, 2015, All Day
...The strangest holiday of the Slavonic calendar. In fact, it is also connected with the conservatism of Slavonic people. After the 1917 Revolution, Russia and Ukraine switched to the western calendar. Before that time they have been 13 days behind the rest of the world. However, even though the official calendar was switched, many people did not want to change and others refused to celebrate New Year before Christmas. The celebrations are not of such an enormous scale as the ones of the New Year's Day and it is not a day off.
Old New Year. January 14. Many of the former Soviet countries, as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina celebrate what’s known as the Old New Year or Orthodox New Year. (Another source called it Serbian New Year.) It’s based on the Julian calendar, the calendar used before agreeing to switch over to the currently-used Gregorian calendar in 1918. On this day, many local rock bands perform concerts prior to a firework display at midnight.
Although the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar. The New Year became a holiday which is celebrated by both calendars.
As in most countries which use the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day in Russia is a public holiday celebrated on January 1. On that day, joyous entertainment, fireworks, elaborate and often large meals and other festivities are common. The holiday is interesting as it combines secular traditions of bringing in the New Year with the Christian Orthodox Christmastide customs, such as koleda.
The New Year by the Julian calendar is still informally observed, and the tradition of celebrating the coming of the New Year twice is widely enjoyed: January 1 (New New Year) and January 14 (Old New Year).
Usually not as festive as the New New Year, for many this is a nostalgic family holiday ending the New Year holiday cycle (which includes Eastern Orthodox Christmas on January 7) with traditional large meals, singing and celebratory drinking.
The most common is called Serbian New Year (Српска Нова година/Srpska Nova godina), and sometimes the Orthodox New Year (Православна Нова година/Pravoslavna Nova godina) and rarely Julian New Year (Јулијанска Нова година/Julijanska Nova godina).
Serbian Orthodox Church celebrate their feasts and holidays according to the Julian calendar. It is located primarily in Serbia (including Kosovo), Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
A part of the population celebrates Serbian New Year in a similar way as the New Year on January 1. This time, usually one concert is organized in front of either City Hall or the National Parliament (in Belgrade), while fireworks are prepared by the Serbian Orthodox Church and fired from the Church Cathedral of Saint Sava, where people also gather. Other cities also organize such celebrations. Restaurants, clubs, cafe's and hotels are usually full-booked and organize New Year's celebrations with food and live music.
A traditional folk name for this holiday as part of Twelve Days of Christmas is Little Christmas (Мали Божић/Mali Božić). Some families continue with the procedures of Serbian Christmas traditions.
The holiday in Macedonia is known as "Old New Year" (Стара Нова година). Late on January 13, people gather outside their houses, in the center of their neighborhoods where they start a huge bonfire, and drink and eat together. Traditional Macedonian music is sung. For those who stay at home, it is tradition to eat home made pita with a coin inside. Whoever finds the coin in his part is said to have luck during the year.
Macedonians around the world also celebrate the holiday, especially in Australia, Canada and USA where the Macedonian Orthodox Church has adherents.
The tradition of the Old New Year has been kept in Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly in Republika Srpska),Georgia, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Moldova, Ukraine (Malanka).
Holocaust Rememberance Day Ethnic Holidays
January 27, 2015, All Day
The Czech Republic legislated January 27 as a Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust and the Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity in 2004. The Czech Senate holds an annual commemorative event attended by the prime minister.
The Terezin Memorial organizes annual commemorations of Yom HaShoah, a Holocaust memorial observance taking place on Nisan 27 according to the Jewish lunar calendar (usually April-early May); the final execution of prisoners at the Small Fortress in May; and Kever Avot ceremonies in September.
In 2002, the government of Estonia declared January 27 the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust. The Estonian Jewish community and representatives of the Estonian Ministry of Education often cooperate to hold commemorative events. The Estonian government organizes a commemorative event at the former Klooga concentration camp, which was liberated in September 1944. The Minister of Education issues a circular instructing secondary schools vis-à-vis commemoration.
State and local authorities honor the victims of the Holocaust - with special ceremonies held on January 27 (the anniversary of the liberation of the German extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau), and on April 19 (to commemorate the heroic Warsaw Ghetto Uprising). Official ceremonies take place in major cities and at authentic historical sites, generally in attendance by the Polish President and/or Prime Minister. Both state and local government institutions, universities, research institutes and schools are extensively involved in Holocaust commemoration.
Annual January 27 commemoration ceremonies at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum are attended by former prisoners, as well as representatives of the Polish and Russian governments, diplomatic corps, the clergy of various denominations, the community of regional and local authorities, and invited guests.
Serbia observes January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In December 2011, the Serbian parliament legislated April 22 as National Holocaust, WWII Genocide and other Fascist Crimes Victims' Remembrance Day. In cooperation with the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia and other institutions, the Serbian government has organized commemoration ceremonies at former Holocaust-era concentration camps and killing sites.
January 27 is observed as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Slovakia also legislated September 9 (the introduction of the Jewish Code of 1941) as the Day of Victims of the Holocaust and Racial Violence in 2001. The Slovak President generally attends a wreath-laying commemorative ceremony at the national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.