Russian Old New Year
Goes International

TMT Clubs introduced foreigners to unconventional customs


by dmitry vasin

"The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath"
The first of the Clubs in 2018 was dedicated to the traditional Russian Old New Year and took place on January 13. This time the curators brought people together for a festive occasion.

The Orthodox New Year, commonly known as the Old New Year, is an informal holiday in Russia observed on January 13. It marks the start of the New Year according to the old calendar system.
Although the country officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, the Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian one. Not wanting to choose between them, Russians decided to keep both New Year's Days and celebrate twice.

Now, one of the must-dos for Russian citizens on the New Year's holidays is watching "The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath," an iconic film by director Eldar Ryazanov, one-of-a-kind dramedy basically shot in one room in 1975. So the Clubs creators opted for presenting this detail of the local culture for those who hadn't seen it before. A restaurant would not do for such a screening, so coworking space Yellow Door near Pushkinskaya metro station had been chosen.
Located in the center of Moscow behind the Theatre of Nations it owns its name to an inconspicuous yellow iron door you have to pull to enter. But there's more to it than meets the eye. It's not just another coworking place – many talented professionals come here to concentrate on their work, join an existing project or create a new startup. Due to this spirit of networking and creativity TMT decided to choose this venue for the first Club of the new year. And it served its purpose.

Around 15-20 people gathered in the cozy loft conveying the 19-th century atmosphere at the agreed time but some more kept coming through the evening. Some of them were expats from the US, Canada, Turkey, Germany, the others came from Russia. There was an unlikely set of characters with different backgrounds there: English and Spanish teachers, construction business and travel professionals, photographers and journalists. All of them were open-minded and friendly.

Guests, some of which knew each other already, treated themselves to a tasty and quite adventurous menu of traditional New Year foodstuffs, simple yet customary to the native population for this winter period. It included tangerines, sprats on brown bread, Russian salad, sandwiches with ham and slightly-salted brynza, eggplant spread which was a discovery for many, cupcakes, pretzel and caramel. The sparkling rose wine turned out to be the drink of the night and its stock ran thin pretty soon. But there was some dry red left in the attic.
Some of the guests were brave enough to come to this cold country but needed all their courage to taste sprats on brown bread. Yet, after enjoying it for the first time they soon became fans of this starter.

As for the movie, the gathering watched only part one in order to have more time for communication. It turned out that most of the foreigners had also watched the film before. Rather than the central element of the evening it became an attracting point for individuals to go there and socialize.

A neat Christmas tree stood in the corner with a flashing garland on and a couple of presents under its branches. A playlist of songs from the Soviet cinema was playing. The venue was tastefully decorated but not oversophisticated. After the film the people moved on to party somewhere else and decided see each other again at the next meetings.

Yellow Door
Address: Tverskoy bulvar, 10/1