A Roman Festival in Moscow – “Times and Epochs”
Metro Stop: Kolomenskaya (Dark green line, south)
Attending a Roman festival is one of the last things I thought I would be doing during my study abroad in Moscow. This festival was held in Kolomskoye Park from June 6-7, 2015. As with many events here in Moscow, I heard about this one by word of mouth. According to a local guide, approximately 270,000 people were expected to arrive to this festival. Older couples, grannies, huge families with kids, groups of youth, and teens with their parents were there. Surprisingly, the teens looked very happy to be with their parents. It seemed like those of all ages were there, enjoying themselves.
It was a lot like what I hear about Renaissance festivals in the United States. I felt like it was something so familiar yet definitely something unexpected, especially just two days after arriving to country. And it was definitely a side to Russian people that I had not seen or heard of before – and I loved it.
A local guide states that history experts were consulted to verify the accuracy of the events. Just as important as celebrating history, you could definitely see how much fun everyone was having. From those who acted in the plays and scenarios, such as a young boy who played a slave, to a man who was scraping furs from the real hide of an animal – you could see there was dedication behind planning this festival. Young women dressed in togas guarded and danced around a fire under a gazebo.
Food was made the old fashion way, in a pot over a fire pit. Actors dressed in Roman style clothes posed with and talked about plates of food made during that era. However this food wasn’t available for purchase (which I was okay with). However, the nearby cafes had long lines of people hungry for shashlik, salads and ice cream. One popular drink stand served “mojitos,” or Sprite, flavored with your syrup of choice, topped with smashed mint. No alcohol here.
There was even an obstacle course set up, though I wasn’t sure how that related to the theme. On one side of the festival, many mini stalls were set up. One woman sold about 15 varieties of honey, all available for tasting. There were candies, dolls, trinkets, jewelry and clothing. It was a bit too crowded to get a close look at these items. However, despite having to squeeze through crowds of people – even from the metro, it was definitely worth this unique experience.