On November 4th Russia celebrates National Unity Day. To the origins of the holiday History

Since 2005, in Russia, there is a new national holiday – National Unity Day, which is celebrated on November 4 and coincides with the church holiday of Our Lady of Kazan. It so happened that many Russian citizens still do not know and do not understand the significance of the new holiday and its history. Today, on the eve of National Unity Day, we have tried to collect the most important facts that everyone should know.

Holiday with historical roots

Few people know that before the revolution of 1917 November 4, too,it was a holiday. Even in 1649 by decree of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich day of Our Lady of Kazan (November 4 Gregorian calendar) was declared a public holiday. In addition, in the early XX century, May 8, old style recalling Kuzma Minin (day of death), which Peter I called the “savior of the fatherland.” Later, due to the 1917 revolution and subsequent events behind it, the tradition of celebrating the liberation of Moscow from Polish-Lithuanian invaders and the day of death of Kuzma Minin was interrupted.

On November 4th Russia celebrates National Unity Day. To the origins of the holiday History
Shot from the movie “1612”, specially filmed for the Day of National Unity in 2007

Replacement Revolution Day

The second reason why a new holiday, is that Russia in the early 2000s was seeking identity on the basis of the denial and the return of the entire Soviet imperial pre-revolutionary. The country needed new meanings and spiritual ties of which are seen in the union of church and state. The new holiday, like Christmas on January 7 declared a public holiday, should contribute to the unity of the church and the government. However, the majority of Russian citizens are still celebrated on 7 November as a day “October Revolution”. Delete “sovetchinu” and leave the citizens of the usual output in November decided to authors of the bill “On Days of Military Glory of Russia”, which was adopted in 2004. Since 2005, 4 November was a public holiday.

The public reaction

The innovations that have changed the customary celebration of November 7 were ambiguously perceived by society, especially the older generation. On the eve of the first celebration of National Unity Day in 46 regions of the country was conducted opinion poll. 33% of respondents believed that the November 4, Russia marks the Day of Accord and Reconciliation, 8% are going to celebrate the Day of National Unity, and 5% – “The Day of the liberation of the Polish-Lithuanian invaders.” The same survey showed that the majority of Russians (63%) reacted negatively to the cancellation of November 7. More interesting were the results of the 2009 survey. The question was worded as follows: “What kind of a holiday celebrated in Russia on November 4?” Over 30% of respondents were undecided. 45% said that they will celebrate the Day of National Unity, and 6% said that November 4 – a day of Our Lady of Kazan. Just over 10% of the population believe that in November the country celebrates the anniversary of the October Revolution. Besides the Communists among the parliamentary party of the Communist Party and the non-parliamentary organizations (Kavbureau, The Matter of Time) to announce their main holiday is on 7 November.

Other events on this day

Along with the celebration of National Unity Day in Russia takes place with at least two major events. It is the holy day of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the “Russian march”. Initially, the initiators of the national holiday set themselves the aim of sharing with the church event. In 2005-2010. one of the official events were processions and services, which were attended by the local authorities. Then, this practice stopped. As often happens in Russia, local and regional authorities are trying to repeat the behavior of the federal government. The almost complete disappearance of interest in the power of the church to the subject in recent years has meant that the local diocese hold their own worship services and religious processions, and the power – rallies and concerts.

“Russian March” – a separate event Russian nationalists also leading its origins from Russian militias of 1612-1613 and the activities of Minin and Pozharsky. Nationalists claim the fundamental difference with the public holiday “Day of National Unity.” They claim that in 1613 Polish invaders against the Russian people is united on a national basis, and the militias were very loose Russian people. The rest of the peoples of Russia were passive, and only after the victory over the Poles Russian militia recognized the authority of the Russian tsar Mikhail Romanov.

Thus, the National Unity Day is not like the feast of unity. Different social groups of modern Russia in this day celebrate your event or its interpretation. Connect all together does not work, and efforts in this direction are not included. Events in 1613 are so far from us that they can not coerce the whole society for unity.