Russian Traditions - Русские традиции
It is a well-known fact that most Russians are patriots of their country: they are usually homesick when they leave Russia for a long period of time, and are usually keen supporters of traditions. Russian people keep up a lot of folk traditions. Many of them are of religious origin and were, actually, banned after the Russian Revolution of 1917 but survived and are now restored. These are all kinds of traditions based on Christianity and the Russian Orthodox Church, like those of Christmas, Lent and Easter. A well-known Easter tradition is, for example, painting eggs bright colours to symbolize springtime and life, and playing an Easter egg game in which each person takes a hard-boiled, coloured egg. Players make pairs and then tap the ends of their eggs together. First the wide ends of the two eggs are tapped together, then the narrow ends, and finally one wide and one narrow end. When a player's egg breaks, he or she leaves the game, which continues until one player is left with an unbroken egg. The one who wins is considered to be likely to have good luck in everything.
The second group is formed by folk traditions which date back to the times before Christianity, like fortune-telling, some wedding or funeral rituals. The third group is formed by traditions pertaining to official celebrations, like those of the Victory Day when World War II veterans meet in Moscow in front of the Bolshoi Theatre building, and people of all ages come to congratulate them and give them flowers.
My favourite Russian folk tradition is Maslenitsa, or Pancake Week, which is a combination of Christian and pagan traditions and is the last week before the Lent. There are several reasons why I like it so much. Firstly, I am really fond of Russian folk traditions, and Maslenitsa week is full of traditional Russian festival activities: masquerades, snowball fights, sledding and sleigh rides. Secondly, it is a chance to taste traditional Russian food which we don't very often cook nowadays, as we got used to buy ready-made food in supermarkets. The essential element of Maslenitsa celebration is Russian pancakes, made of rich foods like butter, eggs and milk. They are usually eaten with sour cream or caviar. For many Christians, Maslenitsa is the last chance to meet with the worldly delights before the fasting of Lent. (For Russian official holidays, see Public Holidays in Russia.)
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