Friday, May 10, 2013

Three Holidays, Two Weeks, One Big Celebration

Kristen says...

Hello again from sunny...

 Well, it seems May is the new October for us (In Honduras we celebrated three major holidays with three long weekends in Russia the many holidays/long weekends event seems to come in May!)

 Last week, May 1, was the celebration of International Worker's Day. In my last post I mentioned that the bridges were going to be closed to motor traffic on that day...unfortunately we didn't get to go walk over the bridge because we had a mix up with the timing of the bridge closing. :/

 However, we did enjoy Chris having those three days (Wed-Friday May 1-3) off from work. We spent a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing, but we also enjoyed going on walks around the city, cleaning the house and spending time with friends.

I also decorated the table for the May 5 holiday, the Orthodox observance of Easter:
I was given the real willows on Palm Sunday, and purchased the pearline ones at the grocery store. I was surprised to learn that willow branches are used in lieu of palms here...I asked one Russian friend about the significance and she assured me that willow branches were waved at Jesus when he entered Jerusalem...the Internet told me that locally-available branches have traditionally been substituted in parts of the world where palms are not readily available.
Honduran paintings, Guatemalan table runner, Russian Orthodox Easter decorations, my grandmother's vases, and our wedding "china." Love it!
Final additions included some hoarded Cadbury's eggs and Russian kulich
 Work resumed for three days this week and then paused again for the Victory Day celebration on May 9. Victory Day is the celebration of the defeat of the Nazi's in World War II and memorialization of those who fought and fell during that conflict. It was very much like the US celebration of Veteran's Day, even though February 23 is the official Defender of the Fatherland Day. (It was also what the military men were cleaning the park for a couple weeks ago!)

 Speaking of cleaning in parks, here is a picture of some of the pre-Victory day cleaning we saw last week:
and the decorations for Victory Day:

As part of the celebrations, the city hosted a myriad of entertainments, including a parade, concerts, and fireworks.

  We had tickets to be close to the center of the parade (we and hundreds of our closest friends) which didn't give us a great view but made us feel part of the event:
 The best view in the "house" (well-deserved, of course) was reserved for the veterans:

We had to park a ways away and walk to the parade was crazy how empty the streets were!

However, the walk gave us a chance to check out some of the city's Victory Day decorations and events:

Again, our view wasn't great, but here are some pictures of the parade:
It started with columns of soldiers representing the various parts of the armed services standing along one side of the road
Two gentlemen in white convertibles drove along and welcomed each branch, which answered with a chorus of "Hurrahs"
Next each branch paraded up the street
Followed by some examples of Russian heavy artillery
Patriotic displays
and families of soldiers marched carrying images of their loved ones. It was quite moving.
 We also saw these fine fellows in the parade:
 Yes, the United States and France were both represented, because a French ship and the US destroyer USS Lassen were docked here for a couple of days this week to "participate in the celebration of the Victory Day and further to strengthen friendship and naval cooperation between the Navies of Russia and the United States".
So much Red, White and Blue! :)
French, Russian, and US ships
 Of course, having so many US citizens in Vladivostok was a fun event for the Consulate, and we were lucky enough to get a tour of the ship after the Victory Day parade:

 Chris' maternal grandfather was in the Navy during both World War II and the Korean conflict, and served in the Pacific. For Christmas Chris' mother gave Chris a bear made from his grandpa's Navy blues, and Chris brought the bear on board the Lassen.

"Captain" Chris!
It was a really neat tour, and lots of fun to celebrate Victory Day with some of our fellow US citizens!

Chris returns to a full 5-day work week on Monday, but later in the month we get to have another long weekend, courtesy of Memorial Day.

May is a great month! :)

PS: And if that's not enough to celebrate:
Blue M&Ms have come to Russia! :)


  1. I've been enjoying following your experiences in Russia (and Hondurus). Table decoration is marvelous. Thank you for sharing. Karen in OR

    1. Thank you Karen! I am so glad you are enjoying the blog! :) I hope all in Oregon is wonderful! :) KF


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