Novy God is the Russian term for “New Year.” More importantly, the term refers to the Russian New Year’s Eve celebration. Since there are many immigrants in Israel who came from the former Soviet Union, Novy God has become a festival that many Israelis celebrate, as well.
There is a good reason why it is so popular. In Soviet Russia, religious holidays were banned and Russians of all faiths were left without days for celebration or recreation. As a result, New Year’s Eve became the only holiday that had no religious or political affiliations, and therefore gave the government no cause for concern. Pretty soon, the holiday developed its own characteristics, with its own typical foods and customs.
Even more important, the holiday became an opportunity for bonding, as friends and family got together, ate, drank, and sang together, celebrating their care for one another. What better way to start a new year?
Indeed, any opportunity to connect is welcome. Any event that allows people to feel closer to each other is a good event that should be encouraged. When it comes at the end of the past year and the beginning of the new year, it is even better: It sends us into the new year feeling more connected, and connection is always positive.
In fact, if we could make it a daily habit to work on improving our connections with others, above ethnicities and cultures, we would be celebrating Novy God each and every day. I see no reason why we shouldn’t.