Monday, November 5, 2012

Unity Day

Today was one of Russian's national holiday, Unity Day. It was an official day off for many people but if you ask anybody what holiday was today, hardly many people would be able to tell you. And not because they've been drinking for 3 days!

A holiday around these days has been celebrated for many decades and it was known as the day of October Revolution in 1917. October revolution is celebrated in November because communists changed the calendar from Julian to Gregorian. It was one of the main holidays in the USSR, always with big demonstrations with red flags.

The holiday on October 7 remained until 2004 (USSR collapsed in 1991) but it was renamed to the Day of Accord and Reconciliation. To tell the truth, nobody really cared and people kept on celebrating "the October 7" giving no meaning to it. To break this pattern, the government changed the date to October 4 and found a pretty controversial history for this day. In 1612 (more than 150 years before the US constitution was adopted!) Moscow was occupied by Polish army and there were those two guys, Minin and Pozharskiy, who gathered volunteers, fought the Polish and set Moscow free. Next year Michail Romanov was declared a tsar becoming the the first tsar of the Romanov's House.

There is a monument to Minin and Pozharskiy in the Red Square in Moscow and I think nobody would argue that they were heroes (although a lot of historical dates are now rethought in Russia). The holiday of Moscow's liberation was celebrated in Russian Empire until 1917 when it was replaced with the Revolution holiday. However, why would anyone celebrate such old events today? Especially when they don't mean anything to today's non-monarchy Russia, when Russians don't really want to blame Polish and when Russia-Poland relationships are not perfect.

Anyway, since this is a weather blog and not about politics, it was snowing today.

No comments:

Post a Comment