Happy Defenders of the Fatherland Day, a.k.a. Men’s Day!

Posted: February 23, 2010 in Иркутск, Holidays & Tradition
Tags: , , , , , , ,
"You're stronger and bolder from year to year, army of the Soviet people!"

"You're stronger and bolder from year to year, army of the Soviet people!"

Since the holiday began a many year ago when, of course, men defended the country and women stayed home to have babies and cook, I’ll save the discourse on sexist discrimination for another day.

The abbreviated history: the day was started under Lenin to honor those in the Red army, but once “the Fatherland”/USSR fell to pieces, they decided to call it “Men’s Day,” to balance Women’s Day on March 8. Or read the long history.

But, old names stick. Ryan and I went to a concert at the Philharmonic, bearing the name of the former holiday, attracting the age group of people most attached to such a name (i.e., seniors). It was also free, attracting a larger than normal attendance, as well as two poor American students, yours truly.

As expected, it was a lot like the 80th Anniversary gala Romany and I attended last semester, with different ensembles, soloists, songs “from the good ol’ days,” and congratulatory speeches (though less of the latter, this time). I remembered the really excited-to-be-there violinist and the really cheesy soprano-tenor duet.

They also passed out boxes of wafer cookies. Someone also thought it would be convenient to include plastic bags, though failed to realize that crinkling plastic would cause a significant ruckus in the theatre during the show. But, the army colonel belting out a techno karaoke version of some oldie, on stage during the appearance of the plastic-wrapped wafer cookies didn’t seem to mind.

Ryan and I hopped out early, though even our sitting near the back didn’t defer the babushka, whose legs we had to crawl over, from angrily adding “WHY are you LEAVING?! Just, go. Get out” while pushing us over her granddaughter’s legs.

Later, we went over to Vova’s for a moderate round of toasts and a nice dinner prepared by his girlfriend and her friend.

“To the men!” (slash, the defenders..?).

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