January 24th, 2003

Seven Fridays a week

While our traditional holiday season starts on Christmas (December 25) and ends on New Year, Russians start celebration on New Year and try to end on Christmas (January 7). When I say that they *try* to lose the holiday spirit, I don't mean that they can't get over the absolutely fantastic huge enormous quantities of vodka coursing through human bodies during the holidays. Well, actually, that's yet another reason. But here's the real explanation.

Russian authorities are well aware that people are not going to start working after a week of drinking alcohol. So they've found a brilliant solution in the usual yet original Russian fashion. Brace yourself for this.

They made up an additional holiday on the January 13. It is called (I hope you're ready for this) Old New Year! On this day, people celebrate New Year as if they still have the calendar that was effective a few centuries ago.

Now look, it takes a day to stand in a long line to buy drinks for a holiday, at least a day to celebrate and a day to battle with the hangover (unsuccessfully). So if a holiday falls on a weekday, people usually don’t come to work the day before and the day after. Well, the government found a clever solution to this situation as well.

They've decided (I hope you can handle this) to rearrange the days of the week! For example if the holiday is on a Wednesday (like New Year was this year), they switch Saturday and Sunday to Thursday and Friday and backwards. So people can have three days to celebrate and then work from Saturday through Sunday for 7 days straight. They play the same tricks with Constitution day, May holidays and so on. I guess that's why they have this saying "Seven Fridays a week".

Have you ever heard anything like this?