Reload the Confetti Gun

Speaking off the toque: Yuriy Fisher, owner of the Stoli Grill, 13148 Memorial Drive, (713)932-1336.

Q. Why do Russians celebrate New Year's Day on January 13?

A. Well, it is not only Russians. It is all the many nationalities that are, traditionally, communicants of the various Orthodox churches and who still keep the Julian calendar to calculate religious holidays. The Julian calendar was devised on the orders of Julius Caesar. Consequently, it was the calendar in use in the Roman Empire during the reign of Julius's successor, Caesar Augustus, and he was the ruler of the Western world during the lifetime of Jesus Christ. So, in order, in theory, to keep a true count of the various anniversaries associated with Christ's life, the Orthodox churches kept the Julian calendar. In the 16th century, the Roman Pope Gregory ordered a revising of the calendar, which is the one commonly used around the world today. It is called the Gregorian calendar. In the 16th century, a date was picked when everybody in the Catholic world would switch from one to the other. In order to reckon up the two systems, ten days were taken off the Gregorian calendar. However, at the turn of every century since then, an extra day has been added to the difference -- except in centuries that can be divided evenly by four!…So, that means the Julian calendar new year falls on January 13 in 2001. Most people in Russia use the Gregorian and celebrate New Year's Day with everyone else on January 1. But if you did not get enough partying in -- and there are many Russians who feel they still have not after January 1 -- you can party again on what we call the Old New Year.

We are going to offer a $25 prix fixe dinner with cold appetizers, hot appetizers and an entrée on Saturday evening, January 13, from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m….Every year past, we have had a turn-away crowd for Old New Year, with plenty of non-Orthodox, non-Russian celebrants.

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George Alexander