Saturday, December 11, 2010

To:Social Studies

Messages from our e-Pals (by National Geographic) in Russia about "festivals in our country"

Every nation has its own customs and long-lived traditions. There is a great number of exciting events which are held in every country throughout the year. Such events of national importance unite people, make them feel proud of their nation.

In Russia, the same as in every other country, there are many holidays: interesting and funny, patriotic and dedicated to any historical event. For example in Russia there are such holidays as the Women’s day, the Victory Day, the Independent Day, the April’s Fool’s day, and many other. In 80th years in Russia some holidays were canceled, among them is the May Day, the 7th of October, the birthday of komsomol, and some other. As for me this resolution was right because when the life of the whole country is changing the old holidays must also be changed by new.

Major National Holidays in Russia

The following is the list of official public holidays recognized by the Government of Russia. On these days, government offices, embassies and some shops, are closed. If the date of observance falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be a day off in lieu of the holiday.

New Year is the first on the calendar and in popularity. New year holidays (Novogodnie kanikuly) in Russia last for 10 calendar days from the 1st of January until the 10th. Currently the New Year is a bigger holiday than Christmas (Rozhdestvo) in Russia. Since 1992 Christmas has been openly observed in Russia and now the New Year's celebration usually flows into the celebration of the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Russian Christmas comes two weeks later than in other countries, on January 7. This difference is due to the Russian Orthodox Church following the Julian calendar.

The Student Day ( Tatyana's Day ) - January 25: in Russia it is a merry holiday of the students as on this very day January, 25th 1775 Emperor Elizabeth signed the decree (prepared by count Shuvalov) of the establishment of the Moscow University.

St. Valentine's Day: Holiday of lovers - St. Valentine's Day - February 14: Christian martyr Valentine was condemned to the capital punishment by Roman pagans but even in such cruel conditions he didn't stop thinking of his lover-the jailer's daughter. He sent her a message full of love and tenderness.

This holiday, inherited from the Western culture, is now very popular in Russia.

Defender of the Fatherland Day: On 23 February, during the Defender of the Fatherland Day (Den zashchitnika Otechestva) Russia honors those who are presently serving in the Armed Forces and those who have served in the past. During the era of the Soviet Union, it was called the Red Army Day or the Day of the Soviet Army and Navy (celebrating the day of the first mass draft of the Red Army in Petrograd and Moscow or of the first combat action against the invading German forces).
International Women's Day: Every 8 March (Vosmoe marta), the United Nations declares this day as the International Women's Day to celebrate women and the accomplishments they have made to society. Other than in the former Soviet republics, it is not celebrated much throughout the world. It is traditional on this holiday to present women with gifts and flowers to express appreciation for their work, love and devotion. It can be regarded as the equivalent of Mother's Day combined with some aspects of Valentine's Day. Thus, nowadays Russian women hardly ever recollect that this holiday originated as a day of rebellion of women struggling for equal rights with men. This day was very special to the Russians in the 1940s.

Fool Day (the Day of laughter) - April 1: They say it is not a sin to laugh at everything that seems to be fun. The medical men confirm that laughter prolong the life. It is considered that those who can laugh at themselves achieve a lot.

Recently this fun holiday didn't celebrate everywhere but nowadays it has become a custom. Everybody tries to play a trick on others.

Victory Day: May 9th, Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany, while remembering those who died in order to achieve it. On 9 May 1945 (by Moscow time) the German military surrendered to the Soviet Union and the Allies of World War II in Berlin (Karlshorst). A military parade is held in Moscow to celebrate the day. Victory Day (Den Pobedy) is by far one of the biggest Russian holidays. It commemorates those who died in WWII and pays tribute to survivors and veterans. Flowers and wreaths are laid on wartime graves and special parties and concerts are organized for veterans. In the evening there is a firework display. A huge military parade, hosted by the President of the Russian Federation, is annually organized in Moscow on Red Square. Similar parades are organized in all major Russian cities.

Russia Day (Den Rossii) is a holiday, somewhat similar to independence day, celebrated on June 12th. On this day, in 1990, Russian parliament formally declared Russian sovereignty over Russia (RSFSR). The holiday was officially established in 1992. Initially it was named Day of the Adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation, on 1 February 2002 it was officially renamed to Russia Day (in 1998 Boris Yeltsin offered this name socially). There exist a misconception in Russian society, that this holiday also called Russia Independence Day, but it never had such a name in official documents. According to the survey of Levada Center in May 2009, 44% of the respondents named the holiday as Independence Day of Russia.

The International Day of Children Defendence - June 1: What is sunnier, joyful, and memorable than the childhood? A child gets to know the world, learns good and friendship, finds out new in familiar things. A child is happy when he is loved, warmed fed and understood. The children are the future of the mankind. Tomorrow is in their hands. Their right for life and dignity must be respected and defended.

Trinity is the unity of three God's faces: God Father, God Son and Sacred Spirit. It is a Christian holiday. It is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter hence it follows its another name-Pyatidesyatnitsa (the 50th day).

On this day Holy Spirit went down on the Apostles and gave them Christ's instructions to spread news of Christianity to all the peoples and languages. This holiday is hold according to folk rites.

The dwellings are decorated with twigs of birch. People remember the deceased. In the evening people sing and dance in rings. In Russia Whitsunday merged with the Semic holiday. It is the esteem of plant Spirits. People also celebrate the Parents' Saturday.

The Day of Knowledge - September 1: Every year after a kind hot summer on the 1st of September pupil go to their classes to continue their journey to the Land of Knowledge.While growing up they comprehend the depths of Wisdom of this Land to enter the adult life being armed with thorough Knowledge. On this day the doors of colleges, universities, institutes, lyceums are also open.

Teacher's Day - October 5: This special day was created to focus the World's attention on the contributions and achievements of teachers as well as their concerns and priorities.

Unity Day (Den narodnogo edinstva) was first celebrated on November 4, 2005, commemorates the popular uprising led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky which ejected the Polish invaders from Moscow in November of 1612, and more generally the end of the Time of Troubles and foreign intervention in Russia. The event was marked by a public holiday which was held in Russia on October 22 (Old Style) from 1649 till 1917. Its name alludes to the idea that all the classes of Russian society willingly united to preserve Russian statehood when its demise seemed inevitable, even though there was neither Tsar nor Patriarch to guide them. Most observers view this as an attempted replacement to counter Communist demonstrations on November 7 holiday, which marked the anniversary of the October Revolution. Recently a film 1612 was made to explain to the Russian audiences the history behind the new holiday. National Unity Day is also known as Consolidation Day (as an alternative translation), which people in Russia celebrate on November 3 - November 4.

The Constitution Day - December 12: On this date in 1993 the new Constitution of the Russian Federation was approved, a fundamental law of the state, one of the most important democratic institutions.


New Year

There are lots of New Year traditions in Russia. In every home there is a New Year tree glittering in colored lights and decorations. Children always wait for Father Frost to come and give them a present. Many people consider a New Year to be a family holiday. But most of the young prefer to spend the New Year there own having parties. As for me I prefer to see the New Year with my family, because I meet these New Years last times with my family and after some years I’ll spend it on my own. I must spend as much time as possible with my family because in some years I’ll have to leave them to begin my own life and these holidays may be the last.

On the eve of the New Year Day, that is at night of the thirty first of December, we are usually at home with our family or with our friends near a New Year tree is decorated with our bright and toys. At 12 o'clock we wish each other "Happy New Year!" We give presents to our friends and to all the family. Children like this holiday very much, because their winter vacation begins with the New Year day and last two weeks. They have a lot of fun then. They dance and sing round a New Year tree with Father Frost and Snow Maiden. The unchangeable participants of this holiday are Farther Frost and his granddaughter "Snegurochka"(a snow girl). During the winter vacation children do not study, they can play hockey, skate, ski and others.

My favourite holiday - Christmas

The next holiday which is celebrated in Russia is Christmas. It takes places on the 7th of January. This religious holiday began to be marked only some years ago. We do not study on this day now. Currently the New Year is a bigger holiday than Christmas (Rozhdestvo) in Russia. Since 1992 Christmas has been openly observed in Russia and now the New Year's celebration usually flows into the celebration of the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Russian Christmas comes two weeks later than in other countries, on January 7. This difference is due to the Russian Orthodox Church following the Julian calendar.

My favourite holiday - St. Valentine's day

Another holiday that is especially popular in my family is St. Valentine's day. February 14 is the day of lovers. Boys and girls, sweethearts and lovers, husbands and wives, friends and neighbours, and even the office staff exchange greetings of affection. Valentine's day is a whirl of hearts, candy and good wishes in the form of bright, lacy, colorful cards, with loving emblems and amorous doggerel, saying: "Be my Valentine". People give and get presents decorated with love emblems: hearts, roses, ribbons and lace. I like both giving and receiving presents. There is a wonderful feeling when you open the rustling colorful paper or watch the face-expression of the person who is trying to guess what you put inside of this box for him.

My favorite holiday -The Victory Day

One of my favorite holidays is The Victory Day. It is the most memorable date in our country. This holiday is celebrated on the 9th of May to commemorate the Victory of the Russian troops over the Nazi invaders. Love for freedom has been a national character of the Russian people. No enemy has been able to conquer our country. When Russia was attacked by the German army in the 22nd of June, the Russian people one and all, rose up in defence of their Motherland. This war is called The Great Patriotic War. The War lasted for four years and more then twenty million Russian people perished [погибли] during this war. A magnificent memorial on Poklonnaya Gora has been in order the Great Victory. Every year this day our family go to the Poklonnaya Gora. We always have many flowers. We present flowers to veterans and make photos. We must never forget this holiday because it is our history. I like this holiday very much.

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