Russian Halloween Celebration in St Petersburg!

Russian Halloween

Russian Halloween Celebration in St Petersburg!

Russian Halloween celebrations are not as popular in Russia as it is in other countries around the world. The religious significance of the 31st October does not relate to the Russian Orthodox calendar, and some religious officials even think that the holiday is ‘Satanic’, so much so that I read recently that one Russian official recommended forbidding Halloween from being celebrated! However, I celebrated Halloween in true British fashion and showed some of my Russian friends how we observe these peculiar festivities.

What is Halloween?

I must admit that the religious background to Halloween is somewhat lost on me, but Halloween originates from Celtic-speaking tribes in what is now Great Britain. The day itself (officially called All Saint’s Eve) is one of the oldest celebrations in the world and is dedicated to remembering the dead, especially saints and martyrs of the Christian faith. This may seem solemn, but the focus of Halloween is actually to use comedy to lessen the power of death! This is the Halloween that I know. From a very young age, I went ‘trick-or-treating’ every year in England with my neighbouring friends until I reached the age where ‘trick-or-treating’ is no longer cool! This particular theme of the festivities mainly entails dressing up in a scary costume and walking around the neighbourhood, knocking on people’s doors (only if they had a pumpkin with a candle inside on their doorstep!) and asking for sweets. The next stage of my life was attending Halloween-themed parties instead!

Halloween friendly Millennials

So, back to Russia. After speaking to some Russian friends in their twenties, it became clear that Halloween is slowly gaining popularity, in St Petersburg at least. There were plenty of bars and clubs that held Halloween-themed nights, with discounts involved to those who arrive in fancy dress. It seems that the younger generation are warming to the idea of Halloween, even if some older Russians think that it resembles a Satanic festival! The day is often dismissed as a foreign concept and it was certainly a different experience to the one that I am used to at home, but Halloween was nonetheless an intriguing experience in the Northern Capital!

 

This post was brought to you by Alexander, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

 

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