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Old Folk Russian Festivities in Suzdal
March 21, 2019 15:11

A gem of the Golden Ring, Suzdal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia. This is a wonderful town that harbours and cherishes the unique ancient Russian atmosphere. The town-reserve has preserved the unique atmosphere of the past centuries, as it stays free from large-scale residential development and polluted noisy streets inherent in modern cities. This is a true old Russian town, one of the few that have managed to preserve their original charm.
Vacationing in Suzdal will appeal to tourists who dream of experiencing authentic Russian culture and devoting their holidays to traditional Russian merrymaking.
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Lots of travelers prefer to visit Suzdal for traditional Russian holidays, such as Pancake Week, New Year and Christmas, which are always celebrated on a large-scale here. An integral attribute of the holiday celebrations in Suzdal are the performances of folk music and dance groups. In addition to that, lots of festive events are accompanied with singular rituals and old Russian traditions. To top it all, Suzdal boasts several unique folk festivals of its own, which can be found nowhere else.

Goose Fights before the Lent
On the last Saturday before the beginning of Lent, Suzdal traditionally hosts … goose fights, an old national amusement, which was widespread and immensely popular in Russia a hundred years ago.
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The venue for this far-out event is the Wooden Architecture Museum, with an extremely lively atmosphere throughout the day. A real arena is equipped for the "fighters" in the museum. Usually at least five battles take place there during the festive day. The fighter geese are dressed up in festive attires, such as colorful ribbons, neck ties and lace collars. Each goose certainly has a name and its own life story, which is told to the audience by the event host before the fight starts.
Mermaid Week
One of the most outstanding summer folk holidays is the Mermaid Week, which is celebrated in mid-June. The forerunner of this celebration is a beautiful pagan festival dedicated to Yarila, the god of nature and love. The Mermaid Week is one of those holidays, which are completely based on ancient rites. During the celebration, it is customary to sing and dance in a ring as well as make flower wreaths. It is a tried and tested old way to honor the nature powers and express your boundless joy of the long-awaited summer.
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One of the beautiful rituals of the Mermaid Week is wreath divination. According to another ancient tradition, it is imperative to perform a magic spell against evil spirits during this period. If done during this festival, then it protects throughout the whole year, they believed in olden times. The Mermaid Week is always accompanied with plenty of amusement and merrymaking. Anyone can take part in the treasure quest and jump over the fire, as well as fight each other with grass bags and play mermaid games. 
The festival is held on the picturesque banks of River Kamenka, which provide ideal scenery for this mesmerizing pagan holiday.
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Cucumber Day
Another fabulous local festival is the Cucumber Day. Yes, you have read it right. All the events of this holiday are dedicated to the cucumber, this common but very popular vegetable. Experienced gardeners present their best, and most importantly, largest cucumbers, while chefs compete in the ways of cooking them. At the same time, the visitors happily contest in the speed of eating those cucumber delicacies. While adults enjoy this merrymaking, children are entertained with puppet theater performances.
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Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Suzdal Russian Traditions Russian Holidays Golden Ring Book Tours to Russia 

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