February 23 Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia

Russians started to celebrate this holiday almost a century ago.

Every year February 23 in Russia, as well as Belarus, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, is celebrated as Defender of the Fatherland Day. February 23 is celebrated since 1922, although during this time the holiday changed its name several times. Also, over the centuries, many of the traditions connected with this day have been transformed, and even its very perception in the eyes of the Russians.

The truce between Russia and Germany ended on February 18, 1918, after which the Germanic and Austro-Hungarian troops launched an offensive on the entire Eastern Front. According to historians, for some time they almost met no resistance. On February 23, 1918, the appeal of the Council of People’s Commissars “Socialist Fatherland is in danger!” was published, and then mass meetings were held in large cities, and volunteers began to enroll massively in the Red Army. Although, according to another version, the recruiting stations were opened only on February 25, however, it was December 23 that became the “birthday” of the Red Army, although the decree on its creation appeared a month earlier.

Since 1922, the holiday was celebrated as the “Day of the Red Army”, from 1946 to 1948 it was called the “Day of the Soviet Army”, then it was renamed the “Day of the Soviet Army and Navy”, and after the collapse of the USSR continued to be celebrated in a number of CIS countries under various names.

In Russia, February 23 since 2002 is a non-working day. Since 1995, Defender of the Fatherland Day has been the day of military glory in Russia in the Russian Federation. One of the traditions of the holiday in Moscow is a solemn ceremony at the Kremlin walls, laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is attended by representatives of the country’s political leadership and religious figures.

In many organizations, schools and families, Defender of the Fatherland Day is usually celebrated as a kind of “Men’s Day”, during which all men receive congratulations and gifts. However, today many Russians hold the opinion that on February 23 it is more appropriate to congratulate only those who have any relation to the army, regardless of their gender.

The results of the VTsIOM poll were recently published, according to which the majority of women are planning to give men perfumes or souvenirs, although 22 percent of men representatives would prefer a holiday ticket as a gift.

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