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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Russia Series at RussianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Russian holidays and observances. I’m Jenny, and you're listening to Season 1 Lesson 21 - Cosmonautics Day.
In this lesson, we will discuss a very interesting and unique holiday – Cosmonautics Day, which in Russian is День космонавтики (Den' kasmanaftiki), and is observed every year on April 12. This holiday was instituted in honor of the first manned space flight.
Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you-
Who do you think was the first to suggest celebrating Cosmonautics Day in the USSR?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening.
As we know, on April 12, 1961 at 9:07 am Moscow time, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin launched his spacecraft Vostok-1 into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Baikonur Cosmodrome, which in Russian is known as космодром Байконур (kasmadrom Baykonur) is located on the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan and was the first and largest space launch facility in the world. In the first manned spaceflight in history, Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth for a total of 108 minutes. In honor of this milestone, the historical event of Cosmonautics Day was established in 1962 with a Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
On this day, the President of the Russian Federation offers his appreciation and congratulations to astronauts of all nationalities. Various space-themed exhibitions, displays, and holiday concerts are arranged in parks, museums, libraries, and exhibition halls. On the eve of the holiday at nuclear energy information centers, people can hear scientific lectures, play games, and participate in space-themed quizzes. In the evening on Cosmonautics Day, festive fireworks are held in Moscow.
A unique initiative by the name of “SMS to ISS” was held in 2014 in Russia. Under this initiative, all interested parties could send a message with their greetings for the astronauts on the International Space Station, which in Russian is called Международная космическая станция (Mezhdunarodnaya kasmicheskaya stantsiya). The astronauts who were in the ISS at that moment read the most heartfelt and original greetings during a communication session with Earth.
On Cosmonautics Day, many cafes and restaurants also hold so-called “space parties”, which in Russian are called “космические вечеринки” (kasmicheskiye vecherinki) where they offer special holiday menus and concert performances.
So returning to our quiz, who do you think was the first to suggest celebrating Cosmonautics Day in the USSR?
The suggestion to establish this holiday was introduced by the pilot-cosmonaut Gherman Titov, who performed the second space flight in 1961 and spent 25 hours in space. The incredible thing is, at the time of his flight, Titov was only 26 years old!
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn something new?
Is there a space-related holiday in your country?
Leave a comment at RussianPod101.com, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!