Maslenitsa Through the Eyes of American Students, 2018

On February 17, squares, avenues and parks in every corner of Russia celebrated Maslenitsa, a traditional Russian holiday that marks the imminent end of winter with mountains of hot, delicious blini and revelry. Originally a pagan holiday celebrated as early as the 2nd century A.D., Maslenitsa has been somewhat folded into Orthodox Christian traditions and […]

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New Year’s Celebrations in Irkutsk

One of the most amazing things I’ve done in Russia is to celebrate the New Year here. This is Russia’s main holiday. In Russia, Christmas (celebrated on Jan 7 rather than Dec 25) is a religious holiday without gifts and parties. The New Year is more like our Christmas and when the Russian version of […]

Unity Day in Irkutsk

Unity Day (День народного единства) is held on November 4 every year across Russia. It commemorates the uprising which kicked out the Polish occupying forces from the Kremlin in November of 1612 at the end of the Polish-Muscovite War. The holiday was recognized during Imperial times, but after the 1917 Revolution, the Soviets replaced the holiday with […]

In Memory of the Warsaw Uprising

The Minute Warsaw Stood Still Marking the Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising Every August 1st at 5:00 PM Place: Any Busy Street in Warsaw Walking around Warsaw on a daily basis, I have not become a stranger to witnessing memorials or places where something important in history has occurred. Everywhere in Warsaw it seems to […]

Going to Catholic Mass in Warsaw, Poland

Catholic Mass in Warsaw, Poland at Holy Cross Church Krakowskie Przedmieście 3 Sunday Mass Times: 6:00, 7:00, 10:30, 11:45, 13:00, 16:00, 19:00 Before I ventured over “The Pond” to Europe, I made a promise to my mom that I would go to at least one service in a Catholic Church while I was there. Keeping […]

Corpus Christi in Lowicz – Day Trip from Warsaw

Celebrating Corpus Christi—In the town of Lowicz All day event Budget: 150zl for food and souvenirs (trip included in SRAS cultural program for Warsaw for Summer, 2017) Corpus Christi is a Catholic holiday celebrating the Blood and Body of Christ. Since Poland is majority Catholic, most stores and eateries in the country are closed for […]

Masha’s Dacha – Featured SRAS Excursion out of Moscow

Masha’s Dacha Included as part of SRAS’ Cultural Program Summer, 2017 This summer, the students enrolled with SRAS Moscow had the opportunity to visit the outskirts of the city and spend the day at a very generous Russian family’s dacha. A dacha is similar to a country house, and they are a hugely important part […]

Happy Russia Day from Moscow

Moscow Day Celebrations June 12th – multiple locations throughout Moscow Guided excursion included as part of SRAS’ Summer, 2017 cultural program ~1000 rubles for food, drink, and souvenirs С Днëм России! This holiday is a very exciting time not only for native Russians, but for visitors as well! This year, celebrations were particularly extensive in […]

Buryat Cooking Lesson at Ulus in Irkutsk

Ulus, Buryat-Mongolian Restaurant (Улус) Buryat Cooking Lesson Part of SRAS Cultural Program, Spring, 2017 130 Kvartal, ul. 3 Iyulya 23 One of my favorite things about living in/traveling to other countries is getting to know the national cuisine. Irkutsk is located right next to the (Russian) Republic of Buryatia, and as such has a large […]

International Women’s Day Eve in Kyiv

Pre Women’s Day Festivities in Kyiv, Ukraine Every March 8th, but really March 7th, too.  Perhaps no one in the world takes the celebration of the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, as seriously as those in Kyiv. It makes sense that the day is especially heralded in Ukraine and Russia, as it was a […]

Heavenly Hundred Mourners In Kyiv

Anniversary of the Shooting of 100 Protesters in Kyiv Remembrance Event Independence Square, Kyiv February 18, 2017 Photojournalism by Rebekah Welch Hundreds of people came to Kyiv’s Independence Square, or, in Ukrainian, Maidan Nazeleznosti for the third anniversary of the day snipers killed 100 protesters during the EuroMaidan Revolution, on February 18, 2017. The deceased […]

Victory Day in Vladivostok

Behind New Year’s, May 9th is the largest holiday in Russia. Victory Day celebrates the Soviet victory in World War II over the German Reich. This year marked 71 years since hostilities ceased in that war, but it seems that time has done little to weaken the remembrance of that great event. The main event […]

Icy Pastimes in Vladivostok

After a nice winter break and going home for the holidays, I have arrived back in Vladivostok. Unfortunately, I missed the big snowstorm here by a week or so, but there is still plenty of snow in heaps around the city and it is still quite cold here. Coming from a warmer climate like the American […]

Exploring Russian Traditions in Vladivostok

The international department at VGUES has, throughout the semester, taken us on various excursions around Vladivostok. This week, we ventured back into time to explore some of the old Russian traditions. At a rather nondescript apartment building near the city center, a kind babushka beckoned for our group to come inside. We were then ushered […]

Global Village Festival in Bishkek

AIESEC “Global Village” Cultural Festival Bishkek Park Shopping Center Free Globalvillage.aiesec.kg and on Facebook The Global Village festival is put on every year by the exchange program AIESEC based at the American University of Central Asia. Local students on this program are very welcoming and interested in sharing their stories and learning from international students. […]

Jewish Bishkek: A Brief History and Guide

My experience with the Jewish community in Bishkek began on a weekday evening in September. I did not really expect to find a synagogue on Suyumbayev Street. I had been following the gradually narrowing road for blocks, eventually across the wide Jibek-Jolu Avenue. On the other side of this thoroughfare, Suyumbayev was sidewalk-less, and full […]

New Year in Vladivostok

Without having given it much thought up until the end of the semester, as decorations began to go up around town and talk of the holidays began, I realized that this would be my first winter holiday season away from home. More than taken by the thought of what would be absent, I was eager […]

Happy New Year from Bishkek!

Жаңы жылыңыздар менен! С Новым годом! Happy New Year! Жаңы жылыңыздар менен! С Новым годом! In Bishkek, Новый год (New Year’s) is not just a holiday but a season, culminating in a celebration that begins on the morning of December 31st and lasts a whole сутки (24 hours). It’s the perfect holiday, as far as […]

Happy Nooruz from Bishkek!

Happy Nooruz! As soon as I knew I’d be spending time in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, I asked Google about the national holidays that would happen during my stay. Google gave me a neat little list of holidays that were mostly familiar — except for one: March 21, Nooruz. Nooruz (also Nowruz, Novruz, or Naw Rúz), which […]

Honey Market – Kyrgyz Museum of Fine Arts in Bishkek

Honey Market Kyrgyz Museum of Fine Arts 196. Советская Museum hours are 10:00-13:00 or 14:00-18:00 depending on the day. The honey market is a seasonal event. It doesn’t run all day, usually starting late morning and finishing in the mid to late afternoon Its funny, during the week I function well on very little sleep, […]

The 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Leningrad

Jan 27, 2014 was the 70th anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII) German forces cut off the Soviet city of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) from the rest of the country with intense bombing raids and tank roadblocks. The siege lasted for 872 days: from September 8 […]

An Oral Account of Yurt Making in Kyzyl-Too, Kyrgyzstan

Text By: Gabrielle Randall, SRAS Graduate Russian as a Second Language, Bishkek, Fall 2012 NGO, Cultural Internship, Bishkek, Spring 2013 Information Translated By: Gabrielle Randall; Nurzat Beishembaeyva; and Elnura Kairbekova Pictures Taken By: Gabrielle Randall; Sunshine Davis; or as otherwise indicated Four and a half hours southeast of Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, the village of Kyzyl-Too […]

What Bishkek Eats for Ramadan

Well, Bishkek, it’s the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. This year, the holy month starts July 9th, coinciding with watermelon season in Kyrgyzstan. Ramadan also coincides with the dog days of summer, when the days are at their longest, temperatures are at their highest, and beach season at […]

A Weekend at the Dacha

During my Russian studies at Indiana University over the past two years, the concept of a “dacha” or Soviet-era summer home always intrigued me. While my family has taken multiple vacations during which we stayed in cabins in Indiana or the Great Smoky Mountains, we—like most Americans—were happy to return to our permanent home. Yet […]

Interview with Patriotic Music Professor in Bishkek

If you want to better understand a country’s government, study its culture. (Если хочешь ближе узнать историю государства, изучай его культурe.) In that spirit, I sat down with one of Kyrgyzstan’s top experts on the most important spheres of Kyrgyz national culture — the art of storytelling. Duishaliev Kamchibek Sharshenovich is a charming music professor […]

Chechen Journalist Calls Kyrgyzstan Her “Homeland”

Chechen Journalist Kamila Zhabrailova Talks about the Chechen-Kyrgyz Experience In Bishkek this past week, Chechen journalist Kamila Zhabrailova talked to SRAS students about the history and culture of Chechnya, the Chechen disapora in Kyrgyzstan, and her attitude towards the Boston marathon bombings. The Tsarnaev brothers are of Chechen descent and had spent some of their […]

Up Close and Personal with a Manaschi

A Performance and Interview with Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov This past week, SRAS students met with one of Kyrgyzstan’s most famous manaschis, Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov. Manaschis are Kyrgyz professional storytellers of the Manas epic poem, the longest epic poem in world history. During this meeting, Nazarkyl discussed his personal life story, the artistry of his craft, and gave […]

Mad for Manas in Talas

Manas Ordo Address: 10km east of Talas, at the foot of the Manastyn-Chokusu Mountain, on the bank of the Kenkol mountain river Price: Adults – 20 som; Children – 5 som, Guided Tour – 300 som Hours: 9:00am-7:00pm There are few essential things to know about Kyrgyzstan. One of these is the country’s folkloric hero, […]

VSUES Maslenitsa in Vladivostok

Maslenitsa at VSUES/Масленица во ВГУЕСе Ул. Гоголя, д. 41 (VSUES dorms) Dates change each year Free and open to VSUES students, faculty and staff If you happen to be in Russia during the spring, one of the highlights of the season (along with the melting ice and ubiquitous mud) is the celebration of Масленица (Maslenitsa). […]

Birthday Parties in Vladivostok

The Golden Century/Золотой Век (or anywhere there are banquets!) Ул. Кирова, д. 60 10 am – 12 am Daily Free (paid for by celebrant)! Besides the New Year, Victory Day and perhaps the 8th of March, the next biggest holidays on most Russians’ rosters are actually their birthdays! The sheer level of drama that they […]

Tengeri Shaman Center in Irkutsk

“Tengeri” Local Religious Organization of Shamans / «Тэнгэри» Местная Религиозная Организация Шаманов Ул. Седова 68 Hours by appointment Telephone: 99-81-54, 8-952-622-9185, Email: baltaev_va@mail.ru Shamanism is the common name for the traditional religions of a number of native Siberian peoples; the word describes a system of beliefs in which a large number of spirits, gods, and […]

New Year’s at Club BSB in Vladivostok

Club BSB Пр.Красного Знамени, 66 Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 pm – 5:00 am Cafe Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Entrance Fee: 500 rubles Table Reservation: 1000 rubles Every Russian person you meet will tell you that New Year’s is the biggest holiday in the country.  Unfortunately, […]

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