Meeting on November 18th, 2020, 2.5 hours
Christmas time is approaching! This time we had a long conversation about our Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions and even some other official holidays.
But still, the most drastic difference certainly lays in the Christmas celebration. Similar to Finland, in Germany we are celebrating it on the 24th, 25th, and 26th, most likely together with your family on the evening of the 24th. There usually is a big meal together and all give each other presents. New Year’s Eve is celebrated together with friends and it is rather a party (mostly also geared towards alcohol) than a family get-together. And it really can last until the morning hours of January 1st.
On the other hand, Russian-(Orthodox) Christmas is celebrated after New Year’s Eve, on January 7th. Here December 31st is the family get-together with presents and stuff while Christmas is not celebrated that big as in Germany.
Other than that, I also told Daria about our German Schützenvereine or “marksmen’s clubs”. Although they have their origins in town militia, today they are revolving around shooting as a sport but rather have a more social than sporting purpose. They have absolutely nothing to do with the German military and most commonly historic weapons together with air rifles, air pistols, and crossbows are used. Very important are the local, annual Schützenfeste (“marksmen’s feasts”). Almost every city and smaller village have their own Schützenverein and own Schützenfest. People of all age and population groups are attending it in the summertime to celebrate.
Then Daria told me about День Победы, Victory Day, on May 9th which actually is a holiday that commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. As even written before, the Second World War is a very important topic in both of our countries. Today this celebration is seen controversial. With its good original intent, today it is predominated by huge military parades and national forces’ showoffs. In 2015 for example, the 70th anniversary of Victory Day was boycotted by Western leaders because of Russian’s military presence in Ukraine (while e.g. China and India still attended).
After all, there is a chance for us finally meeting in real life soon. Daria is going to take an exam here in Tampere and I am definitely looking forward to meeting her, hopefully even together with some other classmates!