May 9 - Victory Day in Russia, a national holiday which remembers the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II and honors 20 million Soviets who died in the war.
The History of "Victory Day"
The fighting of WorldWar II in Europe ended on May 2nd, 1945. The surrender of German troops was signed on May 4th and 5th but officially the war ended at midnight on May 8th 1945. To remember this important event, the Russians created a national holiday called Victory Day which is celebrated on May 9th in Russia.
When Nazi Germany attacked Russia or the Soviet Union, as it was known then, the Russian army pushed the Germans all the way back to Berlin which helped to defeat Hitler's forces.
The main reason for the celebration of Victory Day was to remember the people who died in the war. On that day, flowers are laid on their graves and veterans that are still alive go out on the streets wearing their medals and orders. There are few of them left now days and the number is getting smaller every year.
Russia mainly fought a war to defend itself, which is called a "patriotic war". That is what most Russians call WWII. In Russia almost all the families have at least one person who took part in the war. The other old citizens who did not fight during the war had to work in factories to make guns and preparations, which wasn't easier than fighting. They too are honored on Victory Day.
"Victory Day" Today
To celebrate Victory Day the President of Russia sends congratulating letters to all the veterans. There are parades, feasts, presents and flowers to give thanks to the people who fought for the defense of Russia. In all the cities there are meetings in which a leader or the mayor of the city gives speeches about the achievement of people in the war and the veterans tell about their adventures in the war.
Artillery salute is conducted in cities-heroes, and also in cities where staffs of military districts and fleet are deployed. The order of realization of celebratory processions, assemblies, meetings and the demonstrations devoted to Day of the Victory is defined according to the legislation of the Russian Federation.