Defender of the Fatherland Day

18 February 2014

Defender of the Fatherland Day is coming up, where Russians celebrate the achievements of the military, and even Russian men who have never served are congratulated and receive presents.

First celebrated in 1919, the holiday makes the date when the Red Army was established, and was originally known as Red Army Day. In 1949, it was renamed Soviety Army and Navy Day until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Vladimir Putin announced it as a state holiday in 2002 and gave the day its current name.

Russians observe this holiday as military service is compulsory for most men in Russia, with women giving presents to the men in their lives. It’s commonly known as Men’s Day, and all men are commemorated and this day has therefore become the counterpart to International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March and shows respect, appreciate and love towards women along with celebration of women’s economic, political and social achievements. It started as a Socialist political event in Russia but recently it has lost its political aspect and is an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way similar to Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. It’s still an important day worldwide designated by the United Nations to celebrate women and to raise awareness of the social and political struggles women still face worldwide. Many people celebrate this day by wearing purple ribbons.

For Defender of the Fatherland Day, the symbol is a star, to represent the military background of the holiday, where the star represented honour, bravery and chivalry.

This year there’ll be a concert in the Palace square and fireworks in the evening along the Neva, with parades and processions as well.

Jade Mitchell-Ross is an English student, currently on an internship while studying Russian at Liden & Denz

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