One of the most important holidays observed in Russia is, just like in most countries, their Independence Day. Russia Day – called the Day of the adoption of the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the RSFSR before 2002 – falls on June 12 and has been celebrated annually since 1992. It is the state holiday of the Russian Federation.
On June 12, 1990, at the First Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR, a Declaration on the State Sovereignty of the RSFSR was approved and signed. And then, the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation declared the day as the “day of adoption of the declaration of state sovereignty of RSFSR.” On June 12, 1998, Boris Yeltsin renamed the holiday to “Day of Russia” and the term has been used up until today. Traditionally and officially, on the Day of Russia, the President of Russia presents State Prizes for the prominent Russian scientists, writers and humanitarian workers in Kremlin, a fortified complex in the center of Moscow. Then, on the Red Square, celebrations are held with all kinds of festivities.
Although not every Russian observe the day as an “Independence Day” and just take it as another day off from work, there are still many events throughout the country not only Russian would visit but also people from all over the world. Moscow is the center of Russian Day festivities, while some smaller cities like Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod hold quieter celebrations. But, there are several things that always make appearances in Russian Independence Day festival everywhere in the country. What are they? Let us have a look at 6 of them.
This is definitely something every country would proudly display on their Independence Day celebration. The flag of Russia, or state flag of the Russian Federation, is one of the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, along with the coat of arms and anthem. It is a rectangular panel of three equal horizontal stripes with color combination as follow; the white upper, blue middle, and red lower. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is 2:3. During the Russian Independence Day Festival, the national flags are flying high on poles while the smaller ones are waving cheerily in people hands. There were years where a very long flag was made – about one kilometer long – to be carried by a people parade around the Red Square.
Although the night of Russia Day is long and people would usually still be out until early in the next morning, the end of the June 12 is always wrapped with salute fireworks. This is the biggest firework show during the celebration of Russia Day and is usually held on the Red Square. This is quite common too as a way to mark the festivity of Independence Day in many parts of the world. Russians would light fireworks in the parks, concerts, streets, and other public places.
3. Folk Items
Russia Day is very much a commemoration of Soviet Union’s dissolution and how Russia can return freely to its traditional root. This is why you can see a lot of Russian folk items around the country during the Russia Day Festival. Folklore groups make musical and dance performances in the parks and people would wear traditional clothes to the events such as sarafan, shawl, kokoshnik and felt boots. This festival is also a perfect time to hunt for Russian authentic souvenirs, especially for travelers, such as the Matryoshka dolls, Russian rag dolls, porcelain, scarves, and many more.
4. Military Parade
There are two important days in Russia when you can see the soldiers of the Russian army would march in their uniform together with the tanks; Victory Day in May and Russia Day on June 12. In Moscow, this parade usually takes place on the Red Square. This is one of the highlights of the Independence Day of Russia that people always look forward to seeing.
5. Traditional Cuisine
Other than folk art and souvenirs, people can also enjoy Russian traditional food throughout the country. Delicacy stalls are spread in the parks and squares offering delicious to-go food such as blini, knish, khinkali, shashlik, Tula gingerbread, piroshki and many more. Restaurants, cafes, and pubs usually have special menu during the Russia Day festivity which take four days in a year. It is another time of the year in the country where people would feast and enjoy themselves.
The Russians took part in the celebrations with pleasure. Actors performing at concert venues in city centers literally bathed in spectator attention. Sports competitions and exhibitions also get flooded by endless visitors. The Russians especially like flash mobs. In many cities located in different parts of the country, young people gathered together to stretch the country’s giant flag or stand in such a way as to compose the word “Russia”, visible even from a bird’s eye view.
It is noteworthy that it is leisure activities on June 12 that are very popular. The Russians are ready to swim across the Amur Bay, run an obstacle course or arrange a bike ride without losing their festive mood. Moreover, often they themselves initiated various interesting patriotic flash mobs. Perhaps the Muscovites and guests of the capital could get some of the most vivid impressions from the grandiose show on Red Square “From Russia to Russia”. Moreover, all residents of Russia can watch the theatrical performance on the screens of their TVs from the convenience of their homes.
The holiday festivities sweep not only Russia – June 12 is celebrated abroad, and many foreign political leaders sens congratulations to President of the country and all Russians. Russia Day has proved the high patriotic spirit of the people living in the country and can rightfully be called the most important holiday for the state. If you happen to visit Russia during this time of the year, make sure to catch the 6 things that should appear in the Russia Day Festival.