Moscow Day Celebrations
June 12th – multiple locations throughout Moscow
Guided excursion included as part of SRAS’ Summer, 2017 cultural program
~1000 rubles for food, drink, and souvenirs
С Днëм России! This holiday is a very exciting time not only for native Russians, but for visitors as well! This year, celebrations were particularly extensive in Moscow, with historical reconstructions and reenactments as well as cultural events and entertainment offered throughout the city. Russia Day is celebrated every year on June 12th, and marks the day the Declaration of the Sovereignty of the Russian Federation was signed, which established Russia as an independent country after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The day is generally a celebration of Russia, its history and culture.
We took advantage of our day off from classes for the federal holiday. An SRAS student coordinator met us to lead us as group to see some of the major events in the city center. We first went to Red Square where we found a barrage of different exhibits and military vehicles on display. This is a great event to visit if you are interested in Russian history…or if you just want to snag a cool photo of you looking down the barrel of an ex-military tank!
Other exhibits allowed us to travel back in time and learn more about various industries in Russia that build the country we know today. We visited the papermaking booth to watch how fibers were turned into parchment. We listened to traditional Russian music, performed live on the various stages throughout Red Square.
We then crossed to Hermitage Park, also in central Moscow, for the world’s largest tea party, which they called “Samovar Fest!” Samovar Fest is a huge outdoor tea party with food tables with delicacies from all around Eastern Europe, live musical performances, souvenirs, and an enormous samovar at the center of it all! Attending Samovar Fest was such a fun experience.
After a fun day of learning about Russia’s history and trying some new foods, we headed over to the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge, one of the major bridges that crosses the Moscow River, for some prime firework-viewing seats. Unfortunately, the bridge was still open to automobile traffic, which only left the sidewalk areas available for standing. If you are interested in visiting this spot to watch the fireworks, keep in mind that the bridge fills up quickly, so it’s best to get there about 40 minutes before the fireworks begin. Watching the colored lights over the Kremlin and the Moscow River served as the best possible ending to a culturally rich day!
One of the best parts about the Russia Day celebrations is that most of the public events are free! However, you will be surrounded by a ton of food trucks all day, so it’s best to bring some snack money along with you. You can easily find a wide array of snacks like dumplings, pastries and candies for less than 300 rubles. I bought some Georgian candy and a delicious cheese pastry for 250 rubles. If you’d prefer a heftier options, like meat with a drink, I would advise bringing about 800 rubles. There are also very good deals on ice cream! I saw one stand that was offering scoops for 50 rubles each, but the majority of the prices are around the 90 to 100-ruble mark.
Something to stay away from on Russia Day are souvenir stands, especially at Samovar Fest. The prices are inflated to take advantage of the increase in tourism—a smart move on the vendors side, but not as beneficial for the buyer. You will be better off if you hang on to your money and try to find the item you’re looking for at a cheaper location.