Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Factoid of the day

in the mining area of Pennsylvania, where a lot of locals are second or third generation immigrants from eastern Europe, a lot of our people celebrated Russian Christmas, because some of the local Orthodox churches still used the Julian calender. FT writes about this, and about some isolated groups in the southern Appalachians who still celebrate "old Christmas"...
The initial change-over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar by the British Empire and the American colonies in 1752 caused a difference of eleven days. Thus, the date of “new” Christmas on December 25th was eleven days ahead of “old” Christmas, which fell (at that time) on January 5th. Some Protestants refused to honor the new calendar because it was decreed by the Pope, so their celebration of Christmas remained on the Julian calendar – which now falls on January 7. In the Appalachian Mountains, the celebration of Old Christmas remained until about World War I. Though they might also observe ‘new’ Christmas on December 25th, the festivities were very different. December 25th was marked with revelry and parties and visiting, but January 6th was primarily a reverent family observance.

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