Well, it’s time to tell you what is dacha in Russia.
In the USSR (Do you know that Russia was a part of it some years ago?) people who lived in towns and cities used to be given small lots of land for gardening. People called them dacha (give is dat’ in Russian ). Dachas are usually remote from people’s homes. Some people have to travel 2-3 hours or more to to enjoy their digging in the garden. That’s why in summer on Fridays there are loads of people (they are called “дачники”dachniks ) on the trains from Moscow and there’s terrible traffic jam on the roads from Moscow. The same nightmare is on Sundays – in the opposite direction. The size of dachas given in the past should be 600 square meters. So people also called them “six hundrets”. There’s a popular newspaper for dachniks called “Six Hundrets”. Nowadays dachas are not given, they are sold/bought. Not all dachas are “six hundrets”. Some are bigger, some are much bigger. People usually build smth on their lots. Some build sheds, some build houses, some (a few rich ones ) build palaces. Some (usually the elders ) still grow fruits and vegetables on their datchas. The other (mostly the young ) come there only to picnic.

Some dachas:



And this is my dacha:


Epiphany in Russia

Speaking about Russian traditions: on January,19 a lot of Russian people celebrate Epiphany. Many people go to rivers, lakes or ponds. There, special holes in form of a cross are made in the ice. They are called “Jordan”. Men, women and even children dive into Jordan despite of frost. Such frosts are called “Epiphany frosts”.. But people aren’t afraid of frost. The Epiphany water is believed to cure all diseases.


In Russia we don’t celebrate Christmas on December, 25. (We do it later) :wink: So if it’s a weekday, we have to go to work. But by December, 25 there are Christmas trees in the streets, Santas in shop windows, and we can hear Jingle bells everywhere. So we feel holiday spirit.

It so fell out that New Year’s become the main winter holiday for most Russians. (Christmas used to be forbidden for some years in Soviet Russia.)

Russian New Year personages are Ded Moroz and Snegurotchka .
Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) is like Santa Claus, but he‘s more ancient, his beard is much longer and he wears a beautiful long fur coat (usually red or blue).
He lives in a Russian town called Veliky Ustyug. He drives in a three-white horses-sleigh.
He isn’t married but he’s got a granddaughter called Snegurotchka (Snowgirl).
They bring New Year presents to those who believe in them :lol:
On New Year Eve, families gather for a good blowout. Late in the evening, we give the old year a send-off and when the Kremlin clock begins beating, we open champagne and think of New Year wishes (they’ll come true if you think of them while the clock’s beating 12). :wink: Many people go then outside to have fun. When all go to bed in the end, we put the presents under the Christmas tree in secret from each other.

According to the traditions of Russian Orthodox Church, we celebrate Christmas on January, 7. Late at night, on Jan., 6 lots of people go to church (even those who usually don’t). The churches are beautifully decorated. There are Christmas trees inside and outside. And by the entrance there’s a model of crèche lit by candles. No musical instruments are used at divine service at Orthodox Church, choristers sing a cappella but it’s really DIVINE like angels singing! It’s one of the best services of the year (the best is at Easter)!
It’s often said that Christmas got commercialized. Well, I think all our life is commercialized; and everything depends on what is Christmas for you: Christmas shopping or Christmas carols.

New Year day and Christmas day are official holidays. but there’s one more holiday which is not official, though a lot of people feast it. On January, 14 we celebrate Old New Year.  Puzzled? 😉  Well, Russia, like all the other countries, lives by Gregorian calendar. But Russian Orthodox Church abides by Julian calendar (that’s why we keep Christmas two weeks later) and by Julian calendar New Year is on Jan, 14. So we feast New Year twice! :mrgreen:

Yes, we love celebrating ! 😀

Nowadays, I often hear that we should say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas not to offend anyone. I’m sorry, my dear friends, but that reminds me of communist Russia, when we weren’t allowed to say Merry Christmas to each other.

A year ago, on January, 6, I was going to church when I met three young men. I didn’t know them, I just knew that they were Muslims. It was late (about 11 at night), I was alone, so I got a bit worried. Suddenly, one of them said: “Merry Christmas!” and they all smiled. I said “Thank you!” and smiled back. For me these young men are the best examples of tolerance – when you aren’t offended by your neighbours celebrating their feasts but, on the contrary, are ready to share their happiness.

June 22 1941

(A bit too late 😦 – I should have published that yesterday.)

June 22 is a sorrow day in Russia. 75 years ago Hitler attacked our country. Early in the morning (at 4 o’clock) German planes bombed sleeping towns and villages. That is how Great Patriotic War began. By that time Nazi Germany had occupied many countries and were planning Blitzkrieg – super fast war. Hitler was going to have a parade on the Red Square in Moscow by the end of 1941. He failed. German army was mightier. But all people of our country – old and young, men and women, even children – fought for the Motherland.

Because of Hitler, I don’t know what grandfather means. I’ve never seen my grandfathers – they were both killed by that war. Every Russian family have their own sad story connected with the war. About 27 million people were killed then. Just think about that – twenty seven million!

I remember my granny, who would pick up all the crumbs with her finger after every meal and eat them. Bad habit. During the war they were starving. The hardest for her was to see her hungry babies – my mom and her siblings – begging for bread. It was unbearable. How happy they were when spring came! Why? Because they could eat grass. Just think about that: they were happy to eat grass!

People of our country defeated Hitler. Despite everything. Our “secret weapon” has always been our love to Fatherland.

Watch the documentary about that war. It’s about 40 years old. But for many people that war is still unknown.

Russian people are said to be aggressive. We are claimed to be wanting war. It’s a lie. We know too well what the war is. Come to Russia as friends – and you’ll see how friendly we are. But if you come as conquerors – you’ll see how dangerous we are. In the 13th century Prince Alexander Nevsky said: “Those who come to us with a sword, will die of the sword.” Does fighting for your own country mean being aggressive?

We know what the war is. That is why we pray for peace. We are not as silly as some generals who know war from computer games. War is horrible. It’s not WoW.

Every time after meal, I pick up all the crumbs with my finger and eat them. And so do my children. Bad habit.