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5 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know about Russia
By Brianna Duff
Russia is an amazing country, as foreign as it is far away for most of us here in the States. Despite its distance, it is certainly worth getting to know. It is the largest country in the world in terms of area and spans both Europe and Asia. Because it covers so much land, it also holds a great diversity in geography and ethnicities. Its cultural elements are a hodge-podge of traditions built from one end of the country to the other, spanning its 140 million citizens who speak almost 100 different languages and make up 160 various ethnic groups.
I’ve chosen five of the most unique things about Russian culture and shared them with you below!
1. Gift giving etiquette has some very particular traditions. For example, if you are invited to a Russian home for a meal, you should bring a small gift. Male guests should bring flowers, but certainly not yellow flowers. Baby gifts should never be given before the baby is born – it’s bad luck. (So much for baby showers!)
2. The Russian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which uses 33 letters instead of 24. They are letter derived from the traditional Slavic alphabet, which was once used to help spread Christianity throughout some parts of the area in the 9th century.
3. Russians take their literature very seriously – it is one of the more important parts of Russian life. Most people in America are familiar with the great authors like Tolstoy and Chekov, but unlike many Russians, most Americans can’t easily recite passages from their favorite literary works at the drop of a hat.
4. June 1st is celebrated as “Children’s Day.” Russians honor small children and the youth with family oriented activities, speeches, programs and events. There are charities and events for abused children, and more child-friendly shows on TV that during any other day of the year.
5. Well-mannered Russians will not sit on the ground. In fact, it is against the law to sit on the grass in some parks. They also frown upon scratching any part of the body, littering, or standing with their hands in their pocket in public.