Local traditions and culture in Moscow

  • Behavior & Superstitions
    by Muscovite
  • Behavior & Superstitions
    by Muscovite
  • Behavior & Superstitions
    by Muscovite

Most Viewed Local Customs in Moscow

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    Cúpulas de cebolla - Onion Domes

    by elpariente Updated Aug 30, 2012

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    A mi las cúpulas de cebolla o de bulbo son una de las cosas que me gustan y que me llaman la atención en Rusia
    Tiene forma semiesférica , completamente lisa sin ángulos ni esquinas en la que el diámetro va creciendo desde la parte inferior hasta alcanzar su máximo diámetro y a partir de aquí empieza a disminuir hasta llegar hasta su vértice . Suelen ser más altas que anchas
    Algunos dicen que están inspiradas en las tiendas de los tártaros aunque la idea más común es que simbolizan las llamas encendidas.( También hay quien dice que son especialmente útiles para evitar la acumulación de nieve )
    Hay muchas cúpulas doradas , aunque hay otras con colores brillantes
    El número de cúpulas también tiene su significado : Una sola representa a Cristo, dos representan sus dos naturalezas, tres la Santísima Trinidad, cinco a Cristo en el centro rodeado por los cuatro evangelistas, siete los siete sacramentos, nueve la jerarquía celestial y trece a Cristo con los doce apóstoles

    To me the onion or bulb domes are one of the things that I like and that call for my attention in Russia
    It has semi-spherical shape, with completely smooth form without angles or corners , where the diameter is growing up from the lowest part, up to reach the maximum diameter and from here it starts diminishing up to coming up to his vertex. The high use to be bigger than the width
    Some people says that they are inspired in the tents of the Tartars , though the most common idea is that they symbolize the lighted flames. (Other people considers that they are specially useful to avoid the accumulation of snow)
    There are many golden domes, though there are others with brilliant colours
    The number of domes also it has his meaning: only one represents Christ, two represent his two natures, three the Holly Trinity, five to Christ in the center surrounded by the four Evangelists, seven the seven sacraments, nine the celestial hierarchy and thirteen to Christ with twelve apostles

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    Huevos de Pascua / Easter eggs

    by elpariente Updated Aug 28, 2012

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    Los huevos de Pascua se han convertido en uno de los recuerdos típicos de Rusia
    Se regalaba en Pascua un huevo pintado y se felicitaban deseándose larga vida y se daban tres besos alternativamente en las mejillas , como símbolo de la Santísima Trinidad lo que se consideraba como una bendición
    La forma del huevo simboliza la eternidad ( sin principio ni fin ), contiene aun ser vivo, lo que nos recuerda el ciclo vital y la fragilidad del cascaron está asociada con nuestra frágil existencia
    Fueron famosos los "huevos de Faberge", a partir de 1885, cuando realizó el primero para la familia Romanov y el Zar decidió que a partir de ese año debía crear uno nuevo para regalárselo a su esposa el día de la Pascua .
    Son joyas únicas , hechas con materiales preciosos e incrustaciones de piedras preciosas, en las que un aparentemente simple huevo, si no tenemos en cuenta los materiales con que está hecho, contiene dentro originales joyas que son una obra de arte
    Faberge creó 52 huevos para la familia Real y hay una docena más de huevos que se hicieron para
    para algunas personas importantes
    Los "huevos Faberge" los veremos y disfrutaremos en La armería del Kremlin donde hay una de las mayores colecciones, pero aquí nos referimos a los huevos de madera, más o menos lujosos con pinturas de colores que podemos adquirir para traernos un recuerdo de Rusia y que se ven en todos los mercados

    Easter eggs have become one of the most popular souvenirs of Russia
    In Easter they give as a present a painted egg , congratulating and wishing long life with three kisses alternatively on the cheeks, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity which was which as a blessing
    The shape of the egg symbolizes eternity (without beginning or end), contains an alive being , which reminds us of the life cycle and the fragility of the shell is associated with our fragile existence
    Were famous the "Faberge eggs", from 1885, when he made the first one for the Romanov family and then the Tsar decided from that year to create a new one to give it to his wife the day of Easter.
    They are unique jewellery, made ​​with precious metals and precious stones, in which an egg apparently simple, if we ignore the materials from which it is made, contains within original jewels that are a master piece
    Faberge created 52 eggs for the royal family and about a dozen more eggs that were made
    for some important people
    The "Faberge eggs" we'll be seen and enjoyed in the Kremlin Armory where there is one of the largest collections, but here we are concentrating in the wooden eggs, more or less luxurious, with colourful paintings that we acquire to take as a souvenir from Russia and you may see them in all markets

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    Matrioska

    by elpariente Updated Aug 28, 2012

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    Las matrioskas de origen posiblemente Japonés , nacieron como un juguete que se ha convertido en el símbolo de Rusia y de su cultura.
    El nombre procede de Matriona, un nombre que se asocia a una mujer fuerte y robusta y es alusión a la madre , la maternidad y la fertilidad.
    Se hacen con madera de tilo, que se corta en el mes de abril, cuando el árbol tiene más savia y debe reposar dos años para secarse una vez cortada. Las muñecas de una matrioska se tallan a partir de la más pequeña que va dando las dimensiones de las sucesivas . Deben salir todas del mismo pedazo de madera para que tengan la misma dilatación y contracción
    Se pintan en colores brillantes flores típicas de las ciudades en que se han hecho , con una barra de pan como símbolo de bienvenida a Rusia, con vegetales como la remolacha que representa la riqueza de la tierra y portando jarrones o cestos
    Actualmente hay algunas que representan a líderes políticos como Stalin, Putin, Gorbachof ... y otras que representan a futbolistas( Para los Españoles no Faltan el Barcelona y el Real Madrid )
    La leyenda cuenta que un fabricante de muñecas , Sergei , encontró un trozo de madera muy especial del que sacó a la primera "matrioska" , con la que llegó a tener un trato muy especial, dándole incluso los buenos días todas las mañanas
    Matrioska estaba triste pues no tenía hijos , así que Sergei le dijo que iba a ser muy doloroso , pero que podía sacar una muñeca "trioska" de su interior . La historia se repitió con "trioska" y con "oska" hasta que llegó "ka" , en un trozo muy pequeño de madera , al que le dijo Sergei que como era un hombre no podía tener hijos dentro de si.
    La matrioska con todas las muñecas dentro desapareció y se supone que está perdida en alguna tienda de antigüedades

    The Matryoshka probably of Japanese origin, started as a toy that has become the symbol of Russia and its culture.
    The name comes from Matriona, a name that is associated with a strong and robust woman and is referring to the mother, the motherhood and the fertility.
    They are made from lime wood, which is cut in April, when the tree sap is more more abundant and then it must dry during two years . Matryoshka dolls are carved starting from the smallest that will give the successive dimensions for the other dolls . They must use the same piece of wood so that it has the same expansion and contraction
    They are painted in bright colours with flowers, typical of cities where they have been made, with a loaf of bread, as a symbol of welcome to Russia, with vegetables such as beets representing the richness of the land and carrying vases or baskets
    Currently there are some who represent political leaders like Stalin, Putin, Gorbachev ... and others representing football players (not missing for the Spanish Barcelona and Real Madrid)
    Legend says that a doll maker, Sergei, found a very special piece of wood and he used it to carve the first "matryoshka", with which he had a very special relation , giving to it the good morning every day
    Matrioshka was sad because she had no children, so Sergei told her that he could make one though it would be very painful, because he should take the wood from inside and he made a doll named "trioshka" . History repeated with "trioshka" and "oskha" until it arrived "ka" in a very small piece of wood, and Sergei told him that he he was a man and that he could not have children within it.
    The matryoshka dolls disappeared and it is assumed that they are lost in some antique shop

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    Fireworks in Moscow

    by Muscovite Updated Jul 1, 2011

    As far as I know, grand-scale ‘official’ fireworks only happen three times a year in Moscow:

    1) May 9, the Victory Day

    2) February 23, former the Soviet Army Day, now rebranded into politically correct ‘Defenders of the Motherland’ Day

    3) June 12, Russia Day – this one is a recent addition
    It used to be known as the Independence Day after the Russian Federation declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. As usual in this country, it gave rise to jokes, such as 'we are now independent, as nothing depends on us any longer'

    ‘Amateur’ fireworks is something anyone can be unfortunate enough to encounter in bedroom districts, especially on the New Year Eve; may even report to VT, if the ambulance comes quick enough. Beware.

    Festive St. Basil's June 12 is 'The Day of Russia'
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    May 9th, the Victory Day

    by Muscovite Written Jun 14, 2011

    I guess it’s common knowledge by now that May 8th Victory in Europe, WWII, falls on May 9th here because of the time difference.

    My point was to prove that May 9th - the Victory Day - is one of the few things in our glorious past not succumbed to the market economy yet.
    But no, it turned just the other way round.

    Little wonder the lady in yellow stares in disbelief.

    Unfair competition
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  • kris-t's Profile Photo

    Matryoshka - Russian typical souvenir

    by kris-t Updated Feb 24, 2011

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    One of Russian stereotypes -a Matryoshka doll or a Russian nested doll is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside another. Its name is a diminutive form of a Russian female name "Matryona".

    A set of Matryoshka dolls consists of a wooden figure which can be pulled apart to reveal another figure of the same sort inside. It has in turn another figure inside, and so on. The number of nested figures is usually six or more. The shape is mostly cylindrical, rounded at the top for the head and tapered towards the bottom, but little else; the dolls have no hands (except those that are painted). The artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate.

    Matryoshka dolls are often designed to follow a particular theme, for instance peasant girls in traditional dress, but the theme can be almost anything, ranging from fairy tale characters to Soviet and modern leaders.

    Matryoshka , GUM Matreshka Matryoshka on Vorobevu hills street sellers Matryoshka , GUM
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    National Holidays

    by Muscovite Updated Jan 13, 2011

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    If you are reading this, you obviously have Internet access. And if you have Internet access, you obviously have an access to information.

    How does it happen then that I repeatedly get Home Exchange offers for Christmas? Everyone knows our Christmas and your Christmas are a fortnight apart!

    Here are Russian public holidays for year 2011.

    New Year & Christmas (in this order)
    Jan 1 - January 10

    Defender’s of the Fatherland (and Motherland) Day
    February 23

    International Women's Day
    March 8

    Spring and Labour Day
    May 1

    Victory Day
    May 9
    (that's what you have on May 08)

    Russia Day
    June 12
    (formerly the Independence Day, the Russian Federation declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, giving rise to anecdotes, such as 'we are now independent, as nothing any longer depends on us')

    People's Unity Day
    Nov 4
    (that's the latest invention to replace the Revolution Day November 07; our new friends in Poland won't be happy, as the unity happened in 1612 to drive them out of our Kremlin)

    * Watch out for changes, the parliament ('Duma' – literally ‘the place for thinking’) may give their brains an effort just for once and scratch at last that winter feast of Courchevel skiing for themselves and heavy drinking for the rest of the country in favour of something more sensible.

    2011 - year of cat & hare!
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    Visa

    by HORSCHECK Updated Mar 19, 2010

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    Unfortunately, people from mayn countries still need a visa for travelling to Russia. The most common visa is the tourist visa. If you are on a package tour the formalities will be sorted out for you by the travel agency.

    If you are an independent traveller you firstly need an invitation letter from a prebooked accomodation. With this invitation you can apply for the visa at your local embassy.

    On arrival in Russia you should get an Immigration Card and if you plan to stay more than 3 days you also need a registration in Russia.

    My Russian visa
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    Money: Russian Ruble

    by HORSCHECK Updated Mar 19, 2010

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    Russia is the country of cash, so it is best to pay everything in cash.

    In the last years the Russian Ruble has been relatively stable, so it is best to pay in Russian Rubles instead of other currencies. Credit Cards are accepted in a few places like hotels, restaurants or airports.

    There are enough cash points all over the town; you find at least one at every metro station. Apart from that, there are plenty of exchange offices in the city centre. Their rates vary slightly.

    Before exchanging money at an exchange office, I highly recommend to ask how many Rubles you really get for your currency, just to make sure that no hidden commission will be added.

    500 Russian Rubles note 50 Russian Rubles note 100 Russian Rubles note 1000 Russian Rubles note
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    Changing of the guard

    by HORSCHECK Updated Mar 19, 2010

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    The tomb of the unknown soldier which is located at the Kremlin Wall near the northern end of the Alexander Gardens is guarded by two soldiers from the presidential regiment.

    The changing of the guard takes place every hour on the hour from 8.00 a.m. until 8.00 p.m (half hourly in winter).

    Guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier Changing of the guard Changing of the guard Changing of the guard
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    Expats’ ‘real’ Moscow

    by Muscovite Updated Jul 20, 2009

    Just read a FT article on Moscow.
    An average Muscovite would feel thoroughly looked down at, like a curious bacterium in the microscope.
    For my part, after reading piles of such accounts, I am getting relatively immune. The writer must have been trying to be extremely gracious. What is real and where to look for it - if it's not a Communist meeting, than it's an Orthodox sermon; makes any Muscovite laugh.
    Could have been worse, though. Some practical information may come in handy.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/02a68078-7261-11de-ba94-00144feabdc0.html

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    Plaques

    by mikey_e Written Jul 15, 2008

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    Moscow may be a city that is experimenting (quite wildly) with commercialism and the sort of hedonism long denied its residents under the Soviet régime, but there is no shortage of reminders of the love of culture, history and education that so marks the Russian character. One of the best examples is the plethora of plaques and signs commemorating historic events and personalities all around Moscow. You see them everywhere - on the sides of buildings, on walls, in parks... of course, they're entirely in Russian, which makes it difficult to understand the historical significance of the plaque if you don't speak the language. Some of them are quite intricate, especially when they relate to inventors and scientists (as there are often pictures of molecules or inventions together with a likeness of the individual). More often than not, they commemorate the buildings in which historical events occured - from auditoriums in which Lenin delivered his first addresses after the Russian Revolution, to the buildings in which accords relating to the official relations between the USSR and Mongolia were signed.

    Plaque commemorating a famous scientist Plaque commemorating the Revolution
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    Lyublino Estate Musical Fesivals

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jan 20, 2008

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    The Durasov serf theatre was well-known in Moscow in the 19th century: there were about 100 musicians and actors in his orchestra and in his troupe who studied at a special school in his estate. Performances, balls, evening-parties… life was in full swing in his estate.

    Today the spirit of art has again returned to the Durasov estate that was restored some time ago. The music of Hydn and Shostakovich, and also Schubert and Rakhmaninoff are performed there. And the music of England, France and Russia of the 16th to the 18th centuries restore the historical spirit of the Durasov Palace.

    The “Musical Festivals” will continue in the Durasov Palace in Lyublino.

    String Quartet
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    Classical music concerts in Kuskovo

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jan 13, 2008

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    During the summer the Estate's main palace hosts occasional classical music concerts and festivities, organized by the US and French Embassies, to celebrate Independence Day on June 4th and Bastille Day on July 14th. The celebrations usually involve music, fashion shows, period costumes, games and air displays.

    Kuskovo
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    Russian Brass bands

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jan 1, 2008

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    You may obviously find and listen to the concert of brass instruments if you visit Arkhangelskoye in week-ends. The audience always delightfully attends performances of brass bands on alleys of the park.

    These bands regularly participate in culture events and holidays in Arkhangelskoye.
    Bands usually have an extremely varied repertoire of music. May be their level is not very high and differs from professional but it allow to perform a wide range of music from classical pieces to folk and pop.

    Arkhangelskoye - Russian Brass band
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