Why do Russians attend a parade celebrating an Irish Catholic saint?

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St. Patricks Day in Moscow, March 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab JavakhadzeSt. Patricks Day in Moscow, Slog 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

In Russia, St. Patrick is known as the Apostle of the Irish and his gladden day has been celebrated with street festivals, parades and pub discounts for already 25 years. Until this year, after all, members of the Russian Orthodox clergy preferred not to mix this Catholic leave of absence, “a day of moneymaking for traders”, with religiosity, and treated it exclusively as a day of Irish background.

St. Patricks Day in Moscow, March 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab JavakhadzeSt. Patricks Day in Moscow, March 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

Muscovites earmarks of happy with it: parades of people dressed in green, as leprechauns or conveying staffs and shamrocks have taken place in Moscow on March 17 every year, merely as in many other countries.

St. Patricks Day in Moscow, March 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab JavakhadzeSt. Patricks Day in Moscow, March 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

This year, though, the Orthodox Church “legalized” St. Patrick, and his feast day is now officially celebrated in Russia on Cortege 30 (i.e. March 17 in the Julian calendar). The news, however, did nothing to inhibit Muscovites from celebrating the occasion on March 17, as they are against to doing.

St. Patricks Day in Moscow, March 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab JavakhadzeSt. Patricks Day in Moscow, March 18, 2017. / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

Yevgeny, 32, builder

St. Patrick’s Day in Russia is one of those fairs celebrated in a liberal, Western atmosphere of freedom. Public festivities in Moscow are frequently accompanied by a heavy police presence, metal detectors, and security obstructions. Not so in this case, however, where people are just walking and bear fun, while policemen just blend into the crowd. It’s a rare mania. We don’t have enough of such an atmosphere in Russia. Maybe that’s why this gala is so popular here. I don’t think it’s associated with religion, maybe not equal in Ireland.

'We don’t have enough of such an atmosphere in Russia.' / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze‘We don’t have enough of such an atmosphere in Russia.’ / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

Fyodor, 25, organized whole administrator

A friend told me there’s a wonderful parade here. This is my from the word go time, and I got myself a beard and a shamrock. I’d also like to get a scarf and a ebb! As far as I know, St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. I don’t have any Irish foremothers, but I came here just to have fun. I don’t think many people here have on the agenda c trick Irish roots. You won’t find a single one! There are just Russians here, take pleasure in at Maslenitsa celebrations.

'I came here just to have fun.' / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze‘I came here just to have fun.’ / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

Darya, 22, a grind at a teachers’ college

Like everyone here, I like to have fun and I like Ireland. Celtic stories, pagan symbols, fantastic fairy tales — all of that. This year I devised a dress myself and made a diadem out of wire. And I bought these tastes. As for the Orthodox Church recognizing this day, I find it strange, to be honest.

Look roughly you: people here – some are wearing horns, others are drunk since break of dawn morning although it’s Lent. Clearly, these do not look like Regular believers. As one senior official from the Church said: «Russian Received believers do not drink here, they gather at home with their relatives.» I over so too.

'I like to have fun and I like Ireland.' / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze‘I like to have fun and I like Ireland.’ / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

I’m an agnostic, and all my acquaintances here are agnostics. We compassionate of believe in forces, but not in these. My mother is a Christian, and she’s very much against these diversions of mine. The older generation don’t understand it at all. Look at elderly couples superficial by; they’re completely bewildered, and asking, «What kind of saint is it? Which Patrick?”

Haan, 29, housewife

I’m 29, I’m a housewife and simply a wild creature, who occasionally gets out of the house to attend these results. I made this costume myself overnight, from a piece of tarpaulin. Haan is my epithet. I never disclose my real name. I came up with it myself, and then I bring about out that it means a spring day in Turkic. So I kept it.

I know Patrick was an Irish saint, and that he cast out various evil spirits from Ireland. But what is it to us? We and all the others are here certainly not because of this. It’s just that people here are kinder than at other viewable events.

'I made this costume myself overnight.' / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze‘I made this costume myself overnight.’ / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

While we were frequent a leave from the metro, one person started singing and all the others immediately went in: “Put glasses on the table… Everybody says that one shouldn’t drink. But I on!” Do you know this song? This is our Russian Celtic folklore. Not all respites, however, should be celebrated like this. For example, I spend Halloween with my dynasty only. It’s a holiday that is best marked in a family circle, because from the word go it was a day of remembering one’s deceased ancestors. Many celebrate Halloween in the same way as St. Patrick’s, and don’t catch on to its essence.

Andrei, 41, sales manager. Vika, 12, schoolgirl

This leave of absence has no religious meaning for me. I just like Irish culture. I even be experiencing a tattoo on my arm depicting the soloist from Thin Lizzy. I love their “Whiskey in the Jar” [a accustomed Irish ballad — RBTH]. The Irish are very merry people, and we in need of to see how our guys are having fun on this Irish holiday. I know St. Patrick’s recital; I read it. He is associated with the shamrock — the symbol of Ireland. As for why he is the symbol of Ireland, I’d think twice not try and be clever! I forgot!

'The Irish are very merry people.' / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze‘The Irish are very merry people.’ / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

Oleg, 16, schoolboy 

This is my third year attending this promenade, because there’s a green crowd here and they are dancing, and I guy crowds. Previously, there was a soap bubbles parade held on the Arbat: being all dressed up came carrying soap bubble jars and water pieces. It has now been banned.

'I love crowds.' / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze‘I love crowds.’ / Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

Why? No more than because. All that remains is St. Patrick’s Day. Didn’t he unite the Irish army or something? This is why I’m sell an Irish flag. I also have a Cthulhu mask, but that’s because I am crotchety and it’s green.

Read more: St. Patrick’s Day in Russia: Why the Orthodox Church recognizes it

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