Today is the National Unity Day in Russia. I've always thought that it's a very young holiday as I remember it being celebrated since 2005 only. But according to Wikipedia this holiday was widely celebrated in Russia until 1917.
So, what's the reason for it? It's pretty important, because on this day in 1612 both Russian peasants and the nobility united in order to free their country from Polish and Lithuanian invaders. If that hadn't happened, the territory of our country would probably be divided between Poland and Lithuania now... As much as I respect people from both of those countries, I'd rather stay Russian =)
Now the sad part comes: in 1917 this holiday was replaced with the Day of October Revolution (November 7). As a child I remember watching big demonstrations on TV on this day. I was proud of my country, of the Soviet Union... Little did I know that one day it will collapse like a paper house in the wind because the mere existance of that country was based on lots of lies and tons of blood... There's a monastery in my city which my friends and I visited when we were university students. Before there was a KGB office there. The monks told us that when the monastery was given back to the Orthodox Church they started reparing everything and decided to make a garden on its territory. But as they dug the ground... they found lots of human bones... They found so many of them that they burried them in a separate place and they often pray there and do the liturgy now. They were not even sure they found all of them then.
No wonder that now our government does everything to make everybody forget those times. They cancelled the Revolution Day and returned the National Unity Day. But it's not accepted by most people. It's just another day off for them. Because we forgot how important this holiday once was. And there are lots of people who, like me, remember vividly those bright celebrations dedicated to the memory of October Revolution. Yes, I know now that it was all a big lie. But it's carved somewhere very deep in my soul, and it's not easy to carve another holiday with a different story in the same place.
So you know what? I'd rather choose to celebrate and to congratulate all visitors of my blog on the Day of Our Lady of Kazan. It's also today! The Lady of Kazan is an icon that the Russian Orthodox Church respects probably most of all. That holiday sounds more natural to me, a granddaughter of an Orthodox priest and a daughter of an orthodox mother. Being an Evangelical Christian, I don't worship icons, but I realize that it's an important part of life of every Orthodox believer. And it makes me remember our Lord jesus Christ and think about Him. What more could I dream of? =)
Happy November 4th!