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Peace, Labor, May – May Day Celebrations in Russia

By Natalia on May 1, 2011 in Holidays

Первома́й [May Day] also known as День междунаро́дной солида́рности трудя́щихся [International Workers’ Day] was celebrated illegally in Russia until 1917. It became an important official holiday for the Soviet people. It was celebrated across the Soviet Union. There were парады [parades] held in the center of many towns. People carried транспара́нты [banners] and возду́шные шары́ [balloons] in celebration of the holiday. Here you can watch May Day celebration на Кра́сной Пло́щади [on the Red Square] in 1976:

Шко́льники [school children] loved Первома́й [May Day] for several reasons. Во-пе́рвых [firstly], they had May 1 and 2 off. Во-вторы́х [secondly], the holiday was soon followed by another holiday, День Побе́ды [Victory Day], celebrated on May 9. И в-тре́тьих [thirdly], school year for Soviet children ended on May 25. Thus, ме́сяц май [the month of May] was definitely люби́мый [a favorite] for many kids!

As a child, I could not and did not understand the meaning of the Soviet May Day holiday. All I knew, весна́ [the Spring] had come and ле́тние кани́кулы [the summer break] was just around the corner. One may say, I liked э́тот пра́здник [the holiday] for all the wrong reasons, but to me, those reasons made perfect sense. It also made sense to hold разноцве́тные шары́ [colorful balloons]. After all, what ребёнок [child] doesn’t love balloons?! So I took ша́рики [my balloons], and as I ran на у́лицу [outside] to celebrate the first day of May, I sang припе́в [a refrain] of a Soviet song that ста́ла си́мволом [became a symbol] of peace for children in СССР (the USSR), “Со́лнечный круг” [“Sunshine All Around”].

Первома́й [May Day] still remains a major holiday in Russia today. Since 1992, it is officially called Пра́здник весны́ и труда́ [The Day of Spring and Labor].

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