Yesterday, the historic celebration of ‘Defender of the Fatherland Day’, or День Защитника Отечества in Russian, took place. It’s a tradition already entrenched in history, but one that students from other countries may be unfamiliar with. This article will give you a quick rundown of what the day is about, its history, and how celebrations ...
What kasha means to Russians The word ‘kasha’ is often translated simply as ‘porridge’, and this is what you might imagine when you hear it, especially if you’re British: But what does the word ‘kasha’ actually refer to? Actually, there are several types of kasha in Russia. The proper name for porridge as we know ...
In the Soviet Union, toys were more than just toys. Here is a selection of the best examples I found… 1. Toy sewing machine The children’s sewing machine (Детская швейная машинка/ДШМ) was produced from the 1940s until the end of the 1980s, gradually modernising every time a factory released a new model. The best thing ...
Understanding the Russian Soul The concept of the Russian soul (русская душа) is quite famous, and describes the idea that certain character traits are unique to the Russian nation. It kind of goes without saying that people have traits which are given to them by the culture they inhabit, but most people don’t talk about ...
Things you may not have known about the Russian national anthem If you listen to the Red Army Choir’s performance of the State Anthem of the Russian Federation (Государственный гимн Российской Федерации) on YouTube and scroll down to the comments, you’ll find it has tonnes of foreign admirers, some of whom testify that this powerful ...
The story of the rusalka and the vodyanoy Russian mythology has various underwater characters: the vodyanoy (водяной) is the male water spirit, and the rusalka (русалка) his female counterpart. As you may have already guessed, the vodyanoy marries the rusalka, and they live happily ever after. Only in reality it isn’t that simple… The vodyanoy ...
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Land of great contrasts, Russia stands before the eyes of us foreigners as an obscure, elusive land. Few among those who were not born there – and perhaps not even those who are, – can say to have fully understood it. Proof of this is also its extremely heterogeneous cultural heritage, which through its literature, ...
Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” while in Russia to hopefully avoid any awkward encounters. Number of Flowers in a Bouquet Last year, while I was in St. Petersburg, I went to buy flowers for my teacher on my last day. Not knowing that even number bouquets are reserved for funerals, I bought a bouquet ...
Very little is spoken of them, and usually, in unflattering terms – the Siberian tattoos, with a long history of tradition, are often associated with prison and crime. In reality, however, this view paints a rather unfair and inaccurate picture of a well-established Siberian custom. In this article, we will try to unravel the false ...
Why do you study Russian? To those who ask me, I always give the same answer: it’s hard not to be fascinated by this country’s culture and history, which for a Westerner such as myself feels at the same time both curiously familiar and wonderfully other. This is similarly the case for Gian Piero Pirretto, ...