May 01, 2019

The May Holidays

The May Holidays
Last year's Victory Day celebration in Vichuga. A woman carries a photo of a loved one who died in battle. Aleksandr Korchagin /

The first days of May are a joyous time. Spring has finally sprung in our northern parts, the sun is shining, and the trees have begun leafing out. For the most part, cherry trees blossom a bit later in May (although these days everything is changing), and the cold snap that usually accompanies their flowering falls toward the middle of the month.

In early May, everyone is feeling exhausted after a long, vitamin-deprived winter: schoolchildren are dragging themselves to the June 1 school-year finish line, and their parents are just starting to recover from the cold, dark winter. That’s when the holidays hit.

The May holidays are a rather strange time. In Soviet times, the holidays significant enough to come with a day off were May 1, International Workers Solidarity Day, which for some reason was celebrated over two days, with workers getting May 2 off as well, and May 9, Victory Day. Sandwiched between them were two other holidays that were also taken seriously, despite being working days: Day of the Press on May 5 (the anniversary of Pravda’s first issue) and Radio Day on May 7.

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