We asked community leaders of various ethnic heritages to share some holiday traditions of their culture. Boris Vinogradsky, MD says "Russian history is complex and confusing, but nevertheless interesting.
During the Czar's times Russia used the Julian (Old Style) calendar which was introduced by Julius Cesar in 46 BC and was two weeks behind the now widely accepted Gregorian calendar introduced in 1582 by the Pope Gregory XIII. Russian Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar, because it considers itself The Third Rome - the Roman Empire being the 1st, Constantinople (Eastern Rome) being the 2nd and Russia (Moscow) being the 3rd. The change to the New Style occurred after the 1917 Revolution when Lenin and Bolsheviks decided to join the developed world.
After that the New Year's Day moved to January 1st. Soviets did not celebrate Western Christmas (December 25th), since they banned all religious holidays, but the devout Russians kept celebrating January 6th (Epiphany - Old Christmas Eve), January 7th (Sochel'nik) and January 14th (the Old New Year)."
Celebrating Christmas in Moscow A festive celebration of Christmas nearby the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. 2003
Flowers were in bloom in the Russian Cultural Garden in Cleveland when we visited on April 28, 2020. The tulips by the sign were a welcome addition to the bust of Yuri Gagarin, the ring of honor and other features of the Garden.
Yuri Gagarin Bust Unveiled in the Russian Cultural Garden
Yuri Gagarin was a Russian cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space, completing one orbit of Earth on April 12, 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation's highest honor. He was honored with a bust in the Russian Cultural Garden in Cleveland during the One World Day celebration.
Svetlana Stolyarova before the Gagarin bust unveiling
The Cleveland Russian Cultural Garden hosted the 5th annual Maslenitsa celebration at the Rockefeller Greenhouse. It featured Best Bliny and Babuskha contests, Russian music, kids games, food and more.
The Cleveland Russian community was out in full force at the 73rd annual One World Day on the site of the Russian Cultural Garden. Members of the community marched in the annual Parade of Flags and later there was music, dancing, entertainment, food and fun as members of the Russian community shared their culture with thousands of visitors on One World Day.
Russian Cultural Garden Dedication - September 8, 2018
The Cleveland Russian Cultural Garden has been a work in progress since 2011 when Svetlana Stolyarova, Dr. Boris Vinogradsky and Sergio Lebid formed a committee to create a Russian garden in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens chain of gardens.
Their rationale was 3 key points
We believe that Russian culture is one of the world's most diverse and interesting.
Russian is the second largest European language
Russian culture in America deserves to be explored, represented and promoted.
The formal dedication of the Russian Cultural Garden was held on Saturday September 8, 2018.
The Cleveland Russian Cultural Garden hosted the 4th annual Maslenitsa celebration at the Rockefeller Greenhouse. It featured Best Bliny and Babuskha contests, Russian music, kids games, food and more.
Exactly 19 years ago, 12/12/1998 my husband, two sons, myself and our Airedale terrier Hrisenda Gerciron left Moscow for the United States. Thus began our long and not easy journey to the new life in the new country.
19 years ago we arrived in Chicago where stayed overnight and then took a ride to Cleveland that became our home, our life, and our love. Our kids liked the country at first sight because mail boxes looked exactly as in Tom and Jerry , and it was familiar and funny.
We learned how to bank, how to shop, how to speak and how to better understand American English, how to learn something new every day. Very quickly we figured out some baseball rules because there were too many references to this game in the kids' Math books .
We learned that football is not the game where players play ball by foot, and what we used to call Football is Soccer. We learned how to order Chinese food and Mexican food.
We learned how public schools work and we liked it. Of course, we landed in Orange School system, so it was a lot to like and to appreciate there.
We learned how to get a job and how to start our own business despite a limited language ability and a limited knowledge of the system.
We learned how health care works, and we are forever grateful to all the amazing doctors, nurses and caregivers in the UH who saved our son's live when he got seriously ill. We learned how compassionate and helpful people are in our new country. We learned how important it was to have an opportunity to receive a simple help from our new neighbors, friends and even strangers when it's most needed: bring a hot soup, help to clean or shop, babysit with our other son. Forever grateful for this incredible kindness and for important lesson: we learned how to give back and how not to wait when someone asks for assistance but simply help.
We are fortunate and privileged to realize an American Dream and to become homeowners. We are fortunate to witness and to contribute to the Renaissance of our beloved Cleveland. We are privileged to belong to the vibrant International community of Cleveland. We are fortunate to witness Cleveland Cavaliers championship and glory of the great LeBron James, after all!
Love, gratitude and respect to my new country.
Forever grateful for an opportunity to change our lives and to be able to contribute as much as we can.
Fashions from Russia at Cleveland multicultural party
A highlight of the 8th Annual ICC-WIN Cleveland Multicultural Holiday Celebration on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland was the International Fashion Show featuring almost 100 models from about 30 countries.
The Women are wearing traditional Russian dresses called "sarafan" with headpieces called "kokoshnik". Boys are wearing blue and read "kosovorotka" with Cossack's hats. They also demonstrate boyar winter coats and hats.
Cleveland Russian community at Cleveland Multicultural Event
The Cleveland Russian Community was represented at the 7th annual International Community Council - Worldwide Intercultural Network (ICC-WIN) holiday party on December 14, 2016.
120 people participated in the fashion show and each walked the runway to music from their country. Click on the white arrow to watch the short video of the Russian models Antonina Pakholkova Mohamed, Elissa Mohamed, Kristina Shapiro, Varvara Zasukhina and Ken Kovach.
A highlight of the 6th annual Holiday Celebration of Cleveland's Diversity held in the atrium of the Global Center for Health Innovation in the Cleveland Convention Center by the International Community Council-Worldwide Intercultural Network (ICC-WIN) was the multicultural fashion show.
afans with kokoshniks. Sarafan is a traditional Russian jumper dress worn as Russian folk costume by women and girls. Kokoshnik is a matching headpiece. The costumes were made by Katerina Turichenko with the help of Oksana Dallas for One World Day this Fall and by Antonina Pakholkova for this fashion show.
We'll do the "Bread and Salt" greeting as it is an old welcome greeting ceremony in Russia. In modern days, on official occasions, bread and salt is presented on rushnik (an embroidered towel) by young women dressed in national costumes.
St Sergius Cathedral presented the 2015 Russian Festival over the weekend of July 24-26, 2015. There was delicious Russian food and beverages, a Russian Tea Room, Vendors,a Kid's Korner and, of course, Russian entertainment including the Golden Gates Musical Group and the Iveria Georgian Dancers from St. Petersburg Russia.
The Cuyahoga Cossacks Greater Cleveland Russian Chorus under the direction of Michael Pilat performed a Russian folk song about 12 Robbers featuring Ken Kovach at the 70th annual One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. This performance was part of the annual Cleveland International Folk Festival.
First annual Maslenitsa celebration in Russian Cultural Garden
The Cleveland Russian Cultural Garden hosted its first annual Maslenitsa celebration on the site of their coming Garden. The snow and cold was not a problem for the event - it was a welcome necessity! Maslenitsa is celebrated outside in Russia so outdoor activities are expected and part of the fun.
There were snow games, a Bliny Cook Off, a babushka contest and life size matryoshka cutouts for photos and more.
Posing with the matryoshka cutouts
ClevelandPeople.Com was a media sponsor for the event and we have 5 pages of photos and videos covering the snow games, contests and people.
Representatives from the Cleveland Russian community participated in the International Community Council - Worldwide Intercultural Network's (ICC-WIN) 5th annual multicultural holiday celebration at the Global Center for Health Innovation in the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland Ohio. They modeled Russian costumes at the International Fashion Show which featured traditional costumes of dozens of countries.
Europa Russian Restaurant in Pepper Pike September 30, 2014
The Cleveland Food Adventurers Passport event in September 2014 was at the Europa Russian Restaurant in Pepper Pike. Russia is a huge country. So just as there are many different languages and types of people in different parts of Russia, there are different food preferences. The Food Adventure to Europa was a sampling of many traditional Russian foods and culture.
Grand Piano Concert in the Russian Cultural Garden
August 24, 2014
The Russian Cultural Garden hosted its first inaugural "Grand Piano in the Russian Garden" concert. The event took place on the site of a future Russian Cultural Garden on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Rockefeller Park. The concert's theme was "Music of the Cultural Gardens of Cleveland" and featured works from composers in other Cultural Gardens such as Chopin (Polish Garden) and Liszt (Hungarian Garden). Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky represented the future Russian Garden.
Dmitry Tyurin, Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, Svetlana Stolyarova, Nara Avetisyan and Boris Vinogradsky
Congratulations to the leaders of the Russian Cultural Garden for such a wonderful concert in such a beautiful setting. We can't wait till next year.
Barynya Russian Folk Dance and Music Ensemble performed traditional Russian songs and dances at the annual Cleveland Russian festival at St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma (Cleveland) Ohio.
The Greater Cleveland Russian Chorus performed a traditional Russian folk song at the 4th annual Worldwide Intercultural Network (WIN) holiday celebration of global diversity at the Ariel International Center in Cleveland. They introduced themselves as the Cossacks of the Cuyahoga for the special event.
The Russians are coming to the Cultural Gardens. The plan was presented to the Cultural Garden Federation Board to rave reviews. The Board approved the design and now it must go to the City for the final stamp of approval. On February 13, 2013, the Committee made a presentation of their proposal to friends of the Russian Cultural Garden/
Russian Cultural Garden Committee Co-Chair Svetlana Stolyarova
Youngsters Singing Russian Songs at Cleveland Museum of Art
3 young (8, 11 and 13 years old) students of Anastasia Svyatlovskaya at the Celebrity School of Music performed in the Ames Family Atrium in the Cleveland Museum of Art on October 13, 2013.
Doris O'Donnell in Russia Image courtesy StoryWorks.TV
Russian History and Culture
Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than an eighth of the Earth's land area. It is the ninth largest by population with 142 million people.
Russia extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and incorporating a great range of environments and landforms.
Memorial to Yury Dolgoruky (George the Long-Armed), the founder of Moscow
Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific.
Under Peter I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire.
Peter the Great officially proclaimed the existence of the Russian Empire in 1721
During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms.
Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir Lenin seized power soon after and formed the USSR.
The brutal rule of Iosif Stain (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives.
The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics.
Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state whose legitimacy is buttressed, in part, by carefully managed national elections, former President Putin's genuine popularity, and the prudent management of Russia's windfall energy wealth.
Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.