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Russia’s winter holiday season draws to a close with Old New Year’s celebrations on January 13-14. Foreigners aren’t the only ones scratching their heads at the strange-sounding name – many young Russians themselves aren’t too sure where it comes from. However, they are used to a small cozy holiday celebrated with their families, minus all the hype and hassle of the regular New Year’s.
So, what kind of holiday is it? Is it a New Year that has grown old in two weeks and is now celebrated again in its “old” status? Actually, this holiday appeared because of Russia’s switch from the Julian to Gregorian calendar in 1918. The Orthodox Church continued celebrating all holidays old-school – sticking to the Julian calendar which is 13 days behind – and since the modern New Year fell on an Orthodox fast day, “old” New Year’s remained a feast for believers and a good reason for more partying for everyone else.
The tradition to celebrate the day goes back to 1700, when Peter the Great saw different parts of Russia greeting the New Year at different times, with some in spring, and some in autumn. To put things in order he issued a special decree stating: “From this day to stop messing with people’s heads and to count the New Year from January 1. In honor of it to decorate fir trees, to amuse children and to sledge from the mountains. Grown-ups should not cause alcohol abuse and scuffles – for that you have plenty of other days.”
To avoid disputes about the new law, the tsar set a whole holiday week to be off work and for there to be fireworks on New Year’s Eve. This made people accept it willingly and created a saying: “Happy ‘newyearing’ charms a happy year.”
The tradition to celebrate Old New Year is growing more popular with Moscow entertainment venues – good news for those who wish to celebrate the beginning of the year once more.
© Photo / igorbutman.comIgor Butman is to play at his club
For those who don’t want to follow Peter the Great’s advice on alcohol too strictly (after all, even his subjects were unlikely to):
16 Tonn will be celebrating for two nights in the run-up to Old New Year’s with “winter alcojazz” and bohemian cabaret by Billy’s Band, one of the merriest and most popular concert acts in the country. The band promises not to repeat any songs over the two gigs. 1,000 rubles.
Jan. 12 & 13, 9 pm: 16 Tonn, 6 Presnensky Val., bldg. 1, m. Ulitsa 1905 Goda
Intellectual Bilingua will be hosting retro girl-band Marshmellows, and Rawcats, who are presented as “brutal men with a new Elvis as a vocalist.” A grand show is promised, featuring covers of the best rock’n’roll hits from the 1950s-90s and original songs in retro style. 350 rubles.
Jan. 13, 8 pm: Bilingua, 10 Krivokolenny Per., bldg. 5, m. Chistiye Prudy
On the evening of Old New Year’s Day, small, cozy Masterskaya has a friendly gig by the “Russian Manu Chao,” Alexei Paperny, and his band. “And after the concert we will hang out like people,” promises the pressrelease. 500 rubles.
Jan. 14, 10 pm: Masterskaya, 3 Teatralny Proyezd, bldg. 3, m. Okhotny Ryad
If you want something more hardcore to quit the stressful 2011, choose Plan B with Kuvalda (Maul) trashmetal band and other underground acts. Kuvalda’s songs are mostly on the same topics as Cannibal Corpse’s, and some are in German. 400 rubles.
Jan. 14, 6 pm: Plan B, 7 Ul Sovetskoi Armii, M. Novoslobodskaya
Proyekt OGI feels nostalgic about the 1960s – not The Beatles and hippies, but garage, freakbeat and other alternative styles. Hence their Old New Year party “Drugiye 60” (Other ’60s) featuring The Thunderbeats and The Shakes Owls.
Jan. 14, 10 pm: Proyekt OGI, 8/12 Potapovsky Per., bldg. 2, m. Chistiye Prudy
© Photo / Courtesy of KuvaldaKuvalda
For party animals who can never get enough of NY celebrations:
Pacha will repeat selected parts of their New Year party, which featured a “trip around the world, with the guests visiting Dubai, London, Ibiza and Tokyo.” Free, face control.
Jan. 13, 11:30 pm: Pacha, 10 Ul. Nikolskaya, m. Lubyanka
House-lovers will enjoy dancing at Discodome with DJs Danila, Andrei Loud and Kolya.
Jan. 13, 11 pm: Discodome, 15a Oruzheiny Per., m. Mayakovskaya
You Too will be celebrating not only Old New Year, but also Friday the 13th, with a trance party featuring DJ Mushroom, Megapolis radio resident Miss Yo-Yo and DJ Lenin, who strikingly resembles the Russian revolutionary leader. 500 rubles.
Jan. 13, 11:30 pm: You Too, 69 Ul. Dubininskaya, bldg. 75, m. Tulskaya
Neo will be celebrating with live sax and a mix of house, acid jazz, lounge and smooth jazz by Syntheticsax. 500 rubles, women enter for free till midnight.
Jan. 14, 11 pm: Neo, 27 Varshavskoye Shosse, m. Nagatinskaya
Jazz and classical
© Photo / terem-quartet.ruSee St. Petersburg’s Terem Quartet at MMDM’s Old New Year’s concert
For those who seek a more elegant way to dive into the Old New Year:
MMDM is celebrating with the chamber orchestra Terem Quartet. The St. Pete quartet performs famous classical compositions on Russian folk instruments, and is often called a highlight of St. Petersburg, together with Hermitage and Mariinsky Theater. 300-2,500 rubles.
Jan. 13, 7 pm: MMDM, 52 Kosmodamianskaya Nab., bldg. 8, m. Paveletskaya
The “Meeting Old New Year” party at Igor Butman’s Club promises to teach guests to step-dance and play air sax and air trumpet with jazz stars Pavel Ovchinnikov, Igor Butman’s Orchestra and others. A swing dance party follows. Table reservations: 792 2109.
Jan. 13, 8:30 pm: Igor Butman’s Jazz Club, 1 Ul. Lizy Chaikinoi (“5 Okean” hotel building), m. Sokol
“Novogodneye Priklucheniye” (New Year Adventure) at Philharmonic Hall will feature National Orchestra of Russian Folk Instruments. Reservations: 232 0400.
Jan 13, 7 pm, 29 Ul. Tverskaya, bldg. 3, m. Mayakovskaya
For classical music mixed with tango and jazz, join “Stary Novy God v krugu druzei” (Old New Year With Friends) at Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, featuring Svetlana Bezrodnaya (violin) and the Russian State Vivaldi Orchestra. 700-2,000 rubles.
Jan. 13, 7 pm: Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, 4/31Triumfalnaya Ploshchad 4/31, m. MayakovskayaRead other articles of the print issue "The Moscow News #01"
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