Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tiger Day! (День Тигра)

Kristen says...

As promised, I finally get to write about Tiger Day! :)

In case you didn't know, (and to be honest, I didn't know before moving here) the Amur Tiger (probably better known as the Siberian Tiger) is native to this part of the world! It is, like all tigers, critically endangered...

Luckily the people of Vladivostok seem more than committed to protecting the few wild tigers left in the forests surrounding the city (yes, theoretically I could see a real tiger, in the wild, if I sat out in the forest long enough...I could, but I won't...I don't like sitting in the forest that well!)

Hence, Tiger Day!
 The bulk of the event was held in the central square of the city (fittingly, although you can't see it well on the side of the tall white building on the left, the tiger-clad crest of the city overlooked the Tiger Day celebration).

I took the bus downtown (Chris was down and out with a respiratory infection, poor guy) and was immediately assailed with people in all stages of "tiger dress" (and, in true Russian fashion, basically any other big cat-like clothing people could obtain.)

The festivities were marked by tents manned by various tiger-supporting organizations, including the Phoenix Fund and WWF. Both organizations were selling items to raise money for tiger support:
WWF T-shirt: "Save the Tiger Together!"
Around noon most of the people dressed as tigers, lions, leopards, and various other nature-y motifs converged a block or so away from the central square and started a very long, VERY tiger-y parade.

Here are some of the highlights:

Tigers made of various materials being carried on supporters' shoulders:
The characters from Avatar!?
It was like a Chinese dragon...only it was a Vladivostokian Tiger!
I vote this one the coolest of the day...what a wonderful way yo use old boxes!
Another Chinese dragon-esque tiger
It reminds me of a National Geographic magazine cover
There were quite a few tigers made out of bunches of balloons:

And surrounded by balloons
Can you spot the famous face in the crowd?

There were also some very impressive signs:

Some signs were even in languages I can read!

And (as promised above,) people dressed as tigers:

And other animals in need of protection:

Actually, for it being "Tiger Day", there were quite a few other endangered animals represented as well:

After the parade the city hosted a cheer-leading competition (yeah, I didn't see the connection either), sidewalk (ok, central square) decorating:

The motorized vehicles are a regular weekend attraction in many parts of Vladivostok--parents can rent the vehicles for their children to play with...kind of a cute idea, really.
There were other activities for kids, too...like a makeshift skateboarding park and this:

The premise seemed to be that kids in a harness swung back and forth, kicking off of the Harry Potter balloon...again, what it had to do with Tiger Day I don't know, but it looked kind of fun...

So that was Tiger Day. As you can tell, the weather was beautiful, which was really great...it's supposed to be cold and raining tomorrow, and I've been assured we will see snow before the end of the month...yikes! Winter is coming too quickly!


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