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Spring, Glorious, Happy

May 9th is Victory Day in Russia, when tanks rumble across Red Square and most cities have mini-parades and everyone seems to go picnicking and get drunk.



(Below: Perm on 8th May...)


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The original plan of going on a camping trip with Alena got cancelled at the last minute, so in the end I joined Katya from Kungur and eight of her friends (Katya, Ksusha, Olga, Dima, Artyem, Alexei are the only names I remember) and we went food shopping for meat, bread, coal and drinking water. Then we caught the bus to an outer suburb of Perm which is situated right next to a forest. We climbed the hill into the forest and gathered wood and made a fire and Guy-Whose-Name-I-Have-Forgotten grilled the meat while we all played frisbee. And then we ate the meat and bread and drank the water and played more frisbee and went home. It was a lovely and wholesome day.

(Below: shashliki and sparklers)
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I have had conversations with various Russians that go a bit like this:

Russian: So what do you do on Victory Day in the UK?
Me: Well we don't really have a Victory Day as such...*
Russian: What? How can this be?
Me: Uh...well nothing that big for WW2. But we have one for WW1. Sort of. I think it's because WW1 is historically more...significant to people in the UK.
Russian: So that's when you have your holiday?
Me: Erm, it's not a holiday. It's a day of remembrance. Remembrance Sunday. In November.
Russian: So you don't have parades?
Me: Yep, we do.
Russian: What are they like?
Me: I don't know, I've never been to one. But I saw a bit on TV once. And people wear poppies.
Russian: Really?
Me: Yes...to remember the dead and stuff.
Russian: But it's not a holiday?
Me: No. In the UK it's a sad day.
Russian: Well it's a sad day here too.
Me: Yeah but we don't go on picnics or anything. We have two minutes of silence.
Russian: So do we!
Me; ...
Russian: ...


* I am rubbish and just found out on wiki that there IS Victory in Europe Day on 8th May...but I can't think of anything that goes on in the UK that's anywhere as huge as in Russia.




I do like is the tradition of visiting graves in Russia and leaving bits of food (bread, grain or pancakes) and drink (vodka!) for the deceased. I don't know why, I just find it quite moving.


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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
yunitsa
May. 10th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a very proper sort of picnic in a proper forest, and it definitely looks warmer in Russia than it is here (I'm just back from a walk around Arthur's Seat myself, chilled but happy).
sunnysnusmumrik
May. 12th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
Hey, Are you a couchsurfer?
I am.If you'll be in St.Petersburg,feel free to contact:)
Sonya
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )