Old traditions reflect an important piece of our culture. They help shape the structure and basis of both our families and our society. They remind us that we all are part of a history that forms our past, defines who we are today, and who we are likely to become. Once we shrug off the meaning of our old traditions, we actually just put ourselves in danger of tempering the underpinning of our identity.
That is why we need to strive to use every opportunity that comes to us to strengthen the beliefs and values we hold dear. The alternative to action is taking these beliefs and values for granted. However, when it comes to beliefs, it is possible that the result would be that our beliefs will get so diluted over time and that our lifestyle will become foreign to us. Like good health, you are allowed to take it for granted until you lose it.
As for values, if we discount them, it will only result in the scenario where we will open our eyes one day and will not be able to recognize our world anymore. The beliefs and values that support the backbone of our family, our country and our faith will have drifted for so long that the bond that connects our society in intra-personal level will be torn.
Russian Old Traditions
In this article, we will discover Russian culture by learning more about its holidays and traditions. Some holidays and traditions applied in today’s Russia came from the times of the ancient Slavs who practiced Pagan customs. With the adoption of Christianity, many Pagan customized holidays and traditions morphed with the new Christian customs. After the Russian Revolution, Christian holidays and traditions were abolished. However, there is an indication that a lot of Russian people continued to commemorate it in secret.
Nowadays, Russian people enjoy their own mixes of the holidays and traditions, often passing gifts or doing some pranks according to each holiday and tradition’s customs. So, here are 4 old traditions in Russia that still applied by millennials.
- Maslenitsa, The Pancake Day
Maslenitsa is probably the funniest, brightest, and most entertaining of Russian tradition. Its origin goes back to the pre-Christian era of Russia. The main event of Maslenitsa is the burning of the straw figure called The Winter which is an echo of pagan rituals.
The burning of the figure in Maslenitsa is like a funeral. But with time, the Russian people yearning for fun and entertainment have turned the depressing tradition into jolly Maslenitsa with blini, horse sleigh riding, fistfights, and mother-in-law chatting. The rituals are very unconventional and interesting because they mix the end of the winter holiday rituals and the beginning of new spring festivals.
Even though Christianity that came to replace paganism originally rejected all the old cults, somehow this tradition could not be removed from Russian people’s memory. It has been favored by locals. In today’s age, Maslenitsa becomes an icon of Russian folk festivals with a millennial history because there is no country in the world celebrating something quite like this.
It is a lucky opportunity for foreign visitors who visit Russia to participate the celebration of Maslenitsa or known as The Pancake Day because it means that they get to get on the live pages of Russian history, to touch the real Russian exotica, to witness the ancient tradition of the largest state in the world. Millennials today celebrate Maslenitsa the old way which is huge folk festivals packed with a lot of fun and games.
- Sviatki, Russian Christmastide
Sviatki falls between January 7th (Orthodox Christmas) and January 19th (Epiphany). This ancient Russian tradition is a special time for Christians. In Russia where Christianity was oppressed, the old tradition like fortune telling which dated back to when the adoption of Christian beliefs happened in Russia is part of remembering the old customs. Caroling is a common practice, usually completed with songs which are often sung by costumed singers.
The most devout Russian people end this religious tradition on Epiphany by taking a dip in the freezing water of a river, said to be bestowed with magical powers and symbolizing the baptism of Jesus.
- Ivan Kupala
Ivan Kupala is celebrated every July 6th. It takes places exactly six months after the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Just like Russian Orthodox Christmas, Ivan Kupala festivities mix Pagan and Christian rituals and traditions.
Originally, a tradition of the summer equinox, Ivan Kupala gets its modern name from John (Ivan in Russian) who is the Baptist and the ancient Russian goddess named Kupala. Kupala is the goddess of the Sun, joy, fertility, and water. In modern Russia, the Ivan Kupala night celebration incorporates silly water-related pranks and some romantic traditions, such as couples holding hands while jumping over a fire in order to see if their love will last. There is also a moment when single women float flower wreaths down a river and single men try to catch them in the hopes of obtaining the interest of the women whose flower wreaths they catch.
Tobogganing was initially created to promote the harvest and fertility. This is one of the oldest traditions by which touching the land could make it bear crops. With time, the initial meaning of tobogganing was forgotten as Russian people started riding down the hills in the winter, that is when snow hindered the direct contact with the ground.
However, just recently, to get good harvest and fertility, girls slid off the hills. The same meaning was given to riding all around the village: first around their own village and then their neighboring villages. They rode in sleds and carts in winter pulled by horses. It is just interesting to know that today, many Russian people feel like riding and celebrating again the old practice. They often come up for that with any devisable excuses.
So, those are 4 old traditions in Russia that still applied by millennials.