Russia is a unique, unpredictable country, and the largest country in the world. Russia has more than 150 nations living in it, all of them with their own traditions, languages and customs. Russia is full of surprises and paradoxes, which astonish even Russians themselves! People even joke, that in our country the political regime has changed so much during the 20th century, that Russia is a land with an unpredictable past. Yet another paradox of this amazing country we will all be able to witness this Sunday, on May 1st.
One of the things that still surprises foreigners about Russia is how could Communism succeed in one of the most religious countries in the world and then fail in one of the most communistic countries of the planet? During the Soviet Union (1917 – 1991), the country was atheistic. Many churches were closed and even destroyed. One of the possible explanations is the following: religion’s idea is that in the afterlife you will live in paradise. The main idea of communism was that you live today in paradise, on the earth. Thus, communism became the official religion of the county.
Starting from 1990’s, we witnessed the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church. However, still many people, especially the elder generation of Russians still believe in and feel nostalgic about communism and Soviet times, for it was the best time of their lives, the time, when they were young.
On May 1, we celebrate Labor Day. The tradition of course dates back to the times of the Soviet Union, when there were parades in all the cities throughout this vast country, the main slogan being “Peace. Labor. May.” Most people still associate this day with something Soviet. That is why it is such an astonishing coincidence that this year the Orthodox Easter falls exactly on Sunday, May 1st!
So, what will the Russians prefer? Will they go to the church or take part in the parade? If you happen to be in Russia this weekend, see for yourself!