09 May 2008


Happy Victory Day (known elsewhere as VE Day or Victory in Europe Day). New Year's Eve is undoubtedly the biggest holiday in Russia. Victory Day and Women's Day are a joint second. While Women's Day is celebrated with friends and family, honoring all girls and women, Victory Day is a public holdiay, a spectacle of military might. It celebrates the end of The Great Patriotic War (WWII). Parades and ceremonies across the country are held to thank the men who fought for their country. (eta: Russia celebrates Victory Day on 9 May unlike the rest of Europe which celebrates on 8 May because when the peace treaty was signed, it was already 9 May in Russia.)

These orange and black ribbons are passed out at places all over the city. People wear them or tie them on their cars. The orange and black are meant to symbolize fire and gunpowder and are (perhaps) derived from the tsar's coat of arms--the black Romanov eagle on a golden background.

Yes, I moved my car. Just think, in another six weeks or so I'll never have to do that again!

I'm opting to stay home this morning as

  1. I don't really like watching parades
  2. I don't really like crowds
  3. I can sit in my window and watch the after-parade drift past
  4. my camera is at school so I can't record it for you anyway
  5. Russian parades are heavy on military might and light on the entertainment--no catchy Broadway tunes (the image of Russian soldiers kick-stepping to show tunes has set me giggling)
Maybe next year I'll take d2b to watch the tanks and soldiers. For now, I encourage each of you to claim a victory, no matter how small, and celebrate it today. Wear a striped ribbon. Be victorious!


Anonymous said...

the REAL victory will be when you get to post that you got that SWEET new courtyard apartment.


Elle said...

We were there (in Khabarovsk) the week before Victory Day in 2006. We got to watch the military do their parade practices in Lenin Square. It was quite a sight. When I came home and showed some of my friends the videos they were extremely impressed and their formations and such. Of course that came from the friends who were/are band geeks.

And a few weeks ago I had a discussion with a guy in our congregation (who hates to be wrong). It was May 1st and he was saying what a big holiday May Day or Worker's Day was in Russia. I had to respectfully disagree and say it was Victory Day instead. He still doesn't believe me.

Annie said...

We were in Moscow on Victory Day in 2003. It was joyful. I do love the way Russians celebrate things. It does make me feel that Americans are pretty drear.