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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 3, Defender of the Fatherland Day.
Do you know which holiday is considered to be the most masculine holiday in Russia? In this lesson, you will learn about a very unique Russian holiday, the Defender of the Fatherland Day, or in Russian,День защитника Отечества (Den' zashchitnika atechestva,) which is the day reserved to celebrate those who defend the peace of Russia. We will also learn about its history and the way it's usually observed in Russia.
Now, before we go into more detail, we've got a question for you- do you think women receive congratulations on this day as well, and if so, why?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
Defender of the Fatherland Day is observed every year on February 23. This holiday emerged after the 1918 revolution and was initially called “Red Army Day” or in Russian День красной армии (Den' krasnay armii). In the 1940s it was renamed “the Day of the Soviet Army”, or День советской армии (Den' savetskay armii), then the holiday received its present name, in 1995.
Nowadays most Russians consider this holiday a “men’s day.” This is related to the existence of a conscription law in Russia. Consequently, every young man who has served in the army, or в армии (v armii) in Russian, is already considered “a defender of his Fatherland”. Fatherland in Russian is Отечество (Atechestva). The holiday is celebrated at home or at a gathering at someone’s house. On that day, men not only receive presents, but there may also be parties at their places of work.
On February 23, in many Russian cities, mass public events such as military parades, stunt performances, fairs, and car races take place. In Moskva, or Moscow in English, Sankt-Peterburg, or Saint Petersburg in English, Murmansk, and Smolensk, you can see festive fireworks. There is an interesting tradition in Moscow – the President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which in Russian is called Могила неизвестного солдата (Magila neizvesnava saldata), and this is followed by a minute of silence and the National Anthem.
As it turns out, men look forward to receiving presents and attention on February 23 no less than women do on March 8, which is International Women’s Day, or in Russian,Международный женский день (Mezhdunarodnyy zhenskiy den'). In Russia there is even a saying, “How you celebrate February 23 shows how you’ll celebrate March 8.”
So listeners, do you think women receive congratulations on this day, and if so, why?
In Russia, the women who serve in the armed forces also receive congratulations on February 23. Of course! How else should it be? They are defenders of the Fatherland as well.
So, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything new?
Is “Defender of the Fatherland Day” celebrated in your country?
Leave a comment at RussianPod101.com, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!


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Monday at 06:30 PM
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Is "Defender of the Fatherland Day" celebrated in your country?

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Monday at 03:04 AM
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Здравствуйте robert groulx,

Спасибо for posting. We are very happy to have you here. Let us know if you have any questions.

Всего наилучшего,

Левенте (Levente)

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robert groulx
Monday at 12:03 AM
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thank you for the lesson transcript

favorite phrase is (Mezhdunarodnyy zhenskiy den').


Sunday at 01:38 AM
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In the sample sentence section, the meaning of the День защитника Отечества сейчас празднуется как день всех мужчин is given as “Nowadays, Defender of the Motherland ...” instead for Fatherland. Please advise...


(Posted on 28-September-2019, IST 22:09)

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Tuesday at 02:28 PM
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Hello Ed!

Thank you for sharing this information!


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Thursday at 09:50 AM
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In the US we observe Veteran's Day on November 11, the anniversary of the Armistice of 1918, to honor all who have served in the armed forces.

On Memorial Day, a tradition extending from our Civil War of 1861-1865, we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Memorial Day is held on the last Monday in May.

A common American phrase summarizing both events is, "All gave some, some gave all."

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Wednesday at 08:54 PM
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Hello Rhona Hoggan,

Thank you for posting. :smile:

I hope this information can be useful for all our customers. :thumbsup:


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Rhona Hoggan
Monday at 08:22 AM
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I don't think we're as patriotic. :smile:

The programme is called "Festival of Rememberance" by the way, and consists of displays of skill, then a service. This incorporates the minute's silence.

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Monday at 12:20 PM
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Hello Rhona Hoggan,

Thank you for your information. It is always interesting to find out about traditions of other countries. :thumbsup:


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Rhona Hoggan
Thursday at 10:00 AM
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No, but we do mark the end of WW1, and by extension, all wars since. There is a TV programme that goes out on the nearest Saturday to 11th November and has done so for many years. That, of course, is in addition to televised church services as well as local commemorations.

But no, apart from wearing a poppy and the aforementioned TV programmes, we don't.