Wouldn’t you like to celebrate New Year twice! In Monaco you have been able to do it in style at the Yacht Club for many years now. In fact you can greet any of your Russian friends not only on New Year’s Day but also two weeks later each and every year – and for this year 2020 it fell on the eve (and the day itself) of January 14th to do so. Those invited to the larger than life festivities at the Monaco Yacht Club, which this year were held in a pre-Party on January 10th, were lucky to participate in a feast and dance and clinking of glasses at the pinnacle. This is the sixteenth year that the Russian community and their friends in Europe and across the globe have let their hair down at the Yacht Club and HelloMonaco was there to join in what is one of the most sumptuous and gorgeous celebrations in Monaco. And among the guests was His Serene Highness Prince Albert, who is also President of the Yacht Club’s Board.
And what a line-up HelloMonaco saw there to liven-up the proceedings – including the Muscovite pop-girl group Fabrika discovered in the Russian talent show Star Factory. Also starring for the evening was the singer for many years from the phenomenally successful Russian group Serebro, Elena Temnikova – who happens also to be a Star Factory alumnus. Remember the pop hit “Murder on the Dance Floor, “British singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor was there to bring the Yacht Club dance floor to life instead much to relief of playful superstar DJ Martin Solveig who ratcheted up the vibes.
Midnight came and went with much clinking of glasses of champagne or Beluga vodka as the revellers, danced the night away on the upper deck of the iconic Yacht Club with sweeping scenic views of the Rock and the Mediterranean. The traditional New Year’s feast menu was devised by Chef Evgeniy Kuznetsov including of course, caviar, piroshkis and dessert Pavlova.
The revelry was so boisterous and the joy in the air so infectious that earlier in the evening spa-goers in the Thermes Marins just across the Quay thought that they were in the midst of the party and started swaying to the music on the Jacuzzi terrace.
So how did this second New Year come about?
Until 1918 Russia lived under an old-style calendar, the so-called “Julian” calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor. And the Russian Orthodox Church still follows it. There was an inaccuracy in this old calendar which didn’t quite jive with the Sun’s motion. And so the new, “Gregorian” calendar which is used nowadays was introduced at the initiative of Pope Gregory XIII.
This “old” holiday is lively, interesting and fun as it combines secular traditions of bringing in the New Year with the Christian Orthodox Christmastide customs, and even traces from ancient pagan-style festivals such as “kolyada”.
Communities celebrating in December and January is as old as the human experience.
Across the big pond in the United States they also get more than their fair share of end of year and New Year festivals. There, celebrations start as early as November with their great Thanksgiving “wing ding”. So why not embrace the Russian “Old New Year” and keep celebrating into mid-January. It’s an excuse for an extra chance to party, wish our Russian friends well and be thankful that we are alive.