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Entries / City Holidays (entry)

City Holidays (entry)

Categories / Population/Urban Living

CITY HOLIDAYS. In the early 18th century tsar Peter the Great established a new type of holidays which were divided into official (or state holidays) - victory celebrations, jubilees etc. and popular carnivals (see Popular carnivals). The first city holidays were the celebrations of May 5, 1703 on the occasion of laying the foundation stone of St. Petersburg (St. Peter and Paul) Fortress; they were accompanied with cannon firing, choirs singing, etc. When organizing city holidays, Peter the Great adopted the attributes of Ancient Rome celebrations: i.e. a triumph, military parade beneath the gate, etc. The official city holidays consisted of two parts: a ceremony (like parade, the exit of the emperor and so forth) and a carnival (including popular carnivals, balls, fireworks etc.). The official holidays were traditional (City's Day, New Years' celebration and others) and spontaneous (a military victory, launching of a ship etc.). Until 1917 some religious holidays were celebrated along with official city holidays. Since the early 18th century the system of St. Petersburg festivities calendar was developed. It included the St. Petersburg jubilee, the day of Neva's breakup (was celebrated till 1917) and other holidays. The 100th and 200th anniversaries of St. Petersburg (correspondently in 1803 and in 1903) were celebrated with particular grandeur, as was the 300th Anniversary of Romanov's Dynasty Reign (1913) and some others. In the 1920s-30s a new system of city holidays was established (Red Calendar), and new rites were introduced. From that time on the city holidays were based on military and sports parades, processions, mass demonstrations and others. The day of October revolution of 1917, Navy Day (since 1939), the Victory Day (since 1945), the Raise of the Siege day (since 1944), V.I. Lenin's 100th anniversary (1970) and some other holidays were celebrated especially solemnly in Leningrad. Holidays devoted to different branches of industry (the Day of Trade Personnel, the Day of Public Services Personnel and the like) were not actually celebrated. After 1991 most of Soviet holidays were cancelled, and some new ones were introduced (the Independence Day, the Russian Federation Constitution day). Yet the loyalty to the customary system of city holidays can still be seen in the celebration of November 7, and May 1. Ever since the early 1990s the attempts have been made to transform some political acts into public holidays (like rock music for the democracy on Palace Square in 1991, Musicians vs. drugs in 2000 and others). In May 2003 the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg was solemnly celebrated in the city and its suburbs.

References: Жигульский К. Праздник и культура: Праздники старые и новые: Размышления социолога. М., 1985; Келлер Е.Э. Праздничная культура Петербурга: Очерки истории. СПб., 2001.

Y. N. Kruzhnov.

Lenin (real name Ulyanov) Vladimir Ilyich
Peter I, Emperor

Dvortsovaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Петропавловская крепость

Жигульский К. Праздник и культура: Праздники старые и новые: Размышления социолога. М., 1985
Келлер Е. Э. Праздничная культура Петербурга: Очерки истории. СПб., 2001

The subject Index
Popular Carnivals
St. Peter and Paul fortress
St. Peter and Paul fortress
Jubilee of St. Petersburg