Every country has customs and traditions. I want to tell you about some holidays and traditions of my country.
Russians really love holidays. We usually celebrate them with a lot of food, presents and in big companies of relatives and friends.
There are three types of holidays in Russia. They are family holidays, state holidays and religious holidays. Let me tell you about family holidays first. They include birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and others. Each family has its own traditions of celebrating this or that holiday. For example, my family celebrates my birthday for two days. On the first day I celebrate it with my parents, grandparents, my uncle and aunt. The second day of celebration is only for my close friends. They usually come in a big group with a lot of presents. I like my birthday very much.
State or public holidays in Russia include Constitution Day, New Year's Day, the International Women's Day, May Day, Victory Day and Russia Day. During these holidays, people do not work. They spend time with their families and friends or go to the centre of big cities to celebrate there. Banks, companies and some shops do not work on these days either.
New Year's Day is the major holiday in Russia. We put up a New Year tree and decorate it with colourful toys and glass balls. The main fir-tree of the country is put up in the State Kremlin Palace. Small fir trees are put up in shop windows, in streets and squares, even on roofs of buildings. A lot of people like buying natural fir trees, others prefer plastic ones. Children like the holiday a lot. They can stay up late and then get their presents. At ten minutes to midnight on the 31-st of December families gather in front of the TV-set and watch the president making his traditional speech. After the clock on the main tower of the Kremlin strikes midnight, everybody says Happy New Year and drinks champagne. After that the time for presents comes. Russian children believe that Father Frost brings presents. After all the presents are given out, Russians have fun, drink, eat, and play games all night long.
Victory Day is a very important holiday for Russian history. On this day we remember those who protected our country from the German invaders during World War II. A great parade is held on this day in Red Square. Numerous war and patriotic films are shown on television. On this day people congratulate veterans and give them flowers.
The so-called religious holidays include Christmas, Easter and others. There is also a pagan holiday — Shrovetide or Pancake Day. These holidays are not state, so people usually work and study on these days. At Shrovetide, people see spring in, eat pancakes and burn a scarecrow, which symbolizes winter. Russian Christmas is celebrated on the 7-th of January, but there is no exact date for Easter, it is different every year.
Nowadays foreign celebrations are becoming more and more popular in Russia. They are Halloween and St. Valentine's Day. On Halloween Day some clubs organize parties and masquerades. St. Valentine's Day is mostly popular with young people. They usually buy presents for their girlfriends and boyfriends such as chocolate and sweets and make greeting cards in the shape of a heart.
I like Russian holidays and look forward to celebrating each of them!