James W. Meng

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Units: Foreword 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

19.1 19.2


Russian State Symbols & Holidays
19.1. State Symbols: flag, crest, national anthem.

Every country in the world maintains state symbols - a flag, crest, and a national anthem. These state symbols reflect the common ideas of the people about their land, about the ways of life in their land, and about what is most dear and important to the people.

Over 180 peoples and nationalities live and coexist in Russia today. Every people and every nationality maintains its own customs and traditions, its own culture and its own religion. But all of these people and nationalities live in one country - in the Russian Federation. They are, as Rasul Gamzatov, a national poet of Dagestan once said, "children of one house". Russian and non-Russian; small and large. And Russia is their common home.

All of the peoples and nationalities of Russia, in addition to their national symbols, have symbols for their common home, uniting all under one, unitary state.

During the 1990s, Russia's pre-revolutionary national flag returned to state use. Hung vertically, this flag is made up of three equal bands: at the top - white, in the center - blue, and at the bottom - red. These colors are frequently explained as follows: white signifies peace and purity; blue, faithfulness and steadfastness; red, strength, energy and willingness to shed blood for the Motherland.

Famous Russian poet Vladimir Stepanov explained the flag's colors to children this way:

Белый цвет – берёзка.
Синий – неба цвет.
Красная полоска –
Солнечный рассвет.

Here the poet explains how Russians understand the colors of their national flag through folk symbols.

The crest, or coat of arms, is likewise a very important symbol for any state. In Russia, this crest is frequently seen on public buildings, on flags and of course on money.

The coat of arms of Russia is a two-headed eagle against a crimson shield. One head of the eagle looks to the west, the other - to the east. It symbolizes the unity of the Russian people across its European and Asian geographies. On the chest of the eagle is a shield featuring an image of Georgii the Victorious: a silver horseman on a silver horse. An horseman on horseback against a crimson shield is also used as the crest of Moscow, the Russian capital - though more broadly it has long been used as a symbol of the struggle between good and evil.

Vladimir Stepanov also addressed the Russian coat of arms in a short poem:

У России величавой
На гербе орёл двуглавый,
Чтоб на запад и восток
Он смотреть бы сразу мог.

The Russian national anthem is performed at a wide variety of solemn, cermonial occasions. During the performance of the anthem it is customary to stand, just as when the national flag is raised.

Disrespect for the state symbols of Russia is an insult to its people and, it should be noted, is strictly punishable by law.

19.2. Russian State Holidays.

Every nation has its own holidays: these are national, local, and family holidays. Religious holidays are celebrated with special respect. But every country also has nationwide state holidays. Public holidays are symbols of the unity of the state with its people.

Russia Day is the newest official state holiday of the Russian Federation. It is celebrated on the 12th of June. It was on this day in 1994 that the official declaration of state independence - legislation on the sovereignty of Russia - was adopted. On this day in 2001, the then-new President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladmirovich Putin, said "From this document we set out upon our new history. The history of a democratic state, founded upon civil liberties and the rule of law. And its main symbol is the success, prosperity and well-being of citizens." The traditions of celebrating this day have not yet developed, but with the passing of each year, Russia Day becomes more deeply ingrained into the national holidays of the Russian Federation.

Victory day is celebrated on the 9th of May. This is the most beloved holiday not only throughout Russia, but throughout all the countries of the former Soviet Union. We call this holiday "with tears in our eyes" - because this is how the song "Victory Day" is sung in these countries. Millions of Soviet people perished in battles with fascist invaders. They defended their motherland - the Soviet Union - and they won. With their victory, the Soviet people saved the entirety of mankind from fascism. On this day, a military parade takes place on Russia's biggest public square - Red Square in Moscow. Young people celebrate the participants of the Great Patriotic War, give them flowers and repeat the words "No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten". Cars are decorated with George ribbons and inscriptions of "Thank you, Grandfather, for our Victory!" It is a thank you to grandfathers and great-grandfathers who defeated mankind's most terrifying enemy - fascism.

International Women's Day is celebrated on the 8th of March - it is one of the most favorite and popular holidays in Russia. This holiday has a rich history - it was first celebrated in Russia in 1913 as the day of women's struggle for their rights. Today in Russia this holiday has lost its political overtones and is celebrated as a bright spring day dedicated to every woman. Children refer to it as a holiday of their mothers and grandmothers. Men, young and old, give flowers and presents to their mothers, grandmothers, wives, and daughters. Pupils congratulate their teachers, and adults give flowers to their female colleagues at work. It is a day off in the republics of the former Soviet Union, celebrated by walking in the streets, public concerts in squares and concert halls. Do not forget to congratulate the women in your life on this day! In Russia it is mandatory!

Фото, музыка
В прекрасный день – 8 марта,
Когда сияет всё кругом,
Нам разрешите вас поздравить
С международным женским днём.

Below is a full list of public holidays in Russia:

1 January: New Year's Day
7 January: Christmas
23 February: Defender of the Fatherland Day
8 March: International Women's Day
1 May: Day of Spring and Labor
9 May: Victory Day
12 June: Russia Day
4 November: Day of National Unity

In the Muslim regions of Russia, all important Muslim holidays are also celebrated: Navrus, Kurban-Bayram, and others.