Holidays as one of the aspects of assimilation and integration of migrants in Russia

Cultural assimilation is an intense process of consistent integration whereby members of an ethno-cultural group are "absorbed" into an established generally community. The major holidays are: New Year’ Day, Women’s Day, Victory Day and Independence Day.

Рубрика Культура и искусство
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Муниципальное общеобразовательное учреждение

Средняя общеобразовательная школа №7

Holidays as one of the aspects of assimilation and integration of migrants in Russia

Автор: Амирова Айсел

Руководитель: Глущенко Т.В.

Нижняя Салда 2008



I. Assimilation

II. Integration



We all communicate with others all the time - at home, in our workplaces, in the groups we belong to, and in the community. No matter how well we think we understand each other, communication is hard. Just think, for example, how often we hear things like, “He doesn't get it,” or “She didn't really hear what I meant to say”. “Culture” is often at the root of communication challenges. Our culture influences how we approach problems, and how we participate in groups and in communities.

Culture is a complex concept with many different definitions. But, simply put, “culture” refers to a group or community with which we share common experiences that shape the way we understand the world. It includes groups that we are born into, such as gender, race or national origin. It also includes groups we join or become part of. Holidays are known to be an indefeasible, very important part of every culture because on holidays national peculiarities become clearer and this unites people very much.

My name is Isel Amirova. I am Azerbaijanian. But our family has lived in Russia for more than fifteen years.

There were many causes why my parents moved to Russia. Work was the most important one because it is very difficult to find a job in Azerbaijan. Besides, it was interesting to move to another country, to get to know Russian people's character and their hospitality. They came up in Salda because the Ural region has been multicultural for many centuries. People here are tolerant and patient. So, life of immigrants despite a strong climate of the Urals is more quiet and simply. Having come to Russia, my parents had to begin adapting to Russian climate, traditions, customs and Russian culture as a whole. I was born in Salda a year later after moving of our family. So I am considered to be a Saldinian. Then my sisters and a little brother were born. We seldom went to Azerbaijan, so we adapted to life in Russia. My sisters and I study at Russian school. We like to live here very much. But my parents want to come back to their Motherland because they miss their relatives very much. I try to hinder them because Salda is my home. We have many Russian friends. We like Russian holidays, traditions and customs.

So, I wanted to research in my work which holidays different people in Russia know, like and celebrate. Also I tried to find out how we have adapted to Russian customs and how we have kept our own traditions. I studied holidays that people celebrate in Russia because they play an important role in our life. Then I asked students of our school about their favourite holidays and what they know about these holidays.

I. Assimilation

According to the definition cultural assimilation is an intense process of consistent integration whereby members of an ethno-cultural group are “absorbed” into an established, generally larger community. This presumes a loss of many characteristics of the absorbed group. While it is widely held that a given ethnic group may assimilate to its host culture over a period of time, rhetoric espoused by the host culture rarely takes into account the difficulties for the individuals involved. In fact, the question may be asked “is it possible for an individual to assimilate at all, and if so, till what age is it impossible?” In host countries, ethnic minority parents' children who have regular association with non-ethnic minority people are successful at assimilating.

1. Holidays in Russia

There are a lot of Russian national holidays, when people all over the country do not work and have special celebrations. The major holidays are: New Year' Day, Women's Day, Victory Day and Independence Day.

The first holiday of the year is New Year's Day. People see the new year in at midnight on the 31st of December. They greet the new year with champagne and listen to the Kremlin chimes beating 12 o'clock. There are lots of New Year's traditions in Russia. In every home there is a New Year tree glittering with coloured lights and decorations. Children always wait for coming of Father Frost who gives them a present. Many people consider New Year's Day to be a family holiday. But the young prefer to have New Years parties of their own.

A renewed holiday in Russia is Christmas. It is celebrated on the 7th of January. It's a religious holiday and a lot of people go to church services on that day. holiday assimilation cultural

On the 8th of March we celebrate Women's Day when men are supposed to do everything about the house, cook all the meals and give women flowers.

The greatest national holiday in Russia is Victory Day. On the 9th of May, 1945, Soviet Army completely defeated the German fascists and the Great Patriotic War ended. We'll never forget our grandfathers and grandmothers who died to defend our Motherland. We honour their memory with a minute of silence and put flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We also celebrate Day of the Defender of Motherland on the 23d of February, Easter, Day of Knowledge, a new holiday Hometown's Day and others.

As our family lives among Russians for a long time we feel that we are connected with the majority of people at this time because of the general party atmosphere. Some holidays we celebrated living in Azerbaijan since the Soviet times. Other ones we began celebrating in Russia with all the people, for example, Maslenitsa, Easter, Hometown's Day.

1.1. Maslenitsa

Maslenitsa is celebrated at the end of February or at the beginning of March. We say “good bye” to winter on this holiday. We always cook pancakes with sour cream, honey and sugar. We meet our friends and have a fun. We go to the public walking and take part in various merry activities.

1.2. Easter

Easter is a religious holiday for our family. It is celebrated in spring. My family devotes this day to resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Easter we buy tasty cakes, paint eggs and give them to each other as a symbol of eternal life.

1.3. Hometown's Day

This is one of the most favourite holidays in our family. We celebrate it since 9.00 a.m. to 12 a.m. In the morning we usually do barbequing in the garden. Then we go to the town's square where the celebration takes place. There my sisters and I eat sweetness and popcorn, go rowing on merry-go-round. This is great! And at night our family enjoys watching fireworks when in the dark sky sparkle manycoloured stars.

2. Holidays in Great Britain

There are eight public holidays, or bank holidays a year in Great Britain, that is days on which people need not go to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank Holiday.

Most of these holidays have a religious origin, though for the greater part of the population they have long lost their religious significance and are simply days on which people eat, drink and relax.

But for public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries and days, on which certain traditions are observed.

Such celebrations like St. Valentine's Day, Christmas and Halloween became the most popular ones in Russia.

We asked our children what holidays of English-speaking countries they know best.

There are results of our interview:

Our children can learn about these holidays at our English lessons and parties, from books, magazines and television.

In our school St. Valentine's Day is one of the favourite holidays. It is a day of love and friendship. All pupils in the school send greeting cards to their sweethearts and friends and ask someone “to be their Valentine”. We also decorate our classrooms with big red hearts. In the evening we have a party in the school where we choose a Valentine-boy and his Valentine-girl, we listen to slow romantic music and dance. This day all the students are friendly and amorous.

Halloween is one of the best holidays for children of our school. Some pupils wear awful masks and colourful costumes, some make Jack-o-lanterns. Witches, ghosts, skeletons and others give us an interesting performance. We play amusing games. It is very gaily.

We asked 50 our students from 7, 9 and 11 forms some questions about holidays.

Here are the results of the survey:

1.Give 3 your favourite holidays.

Children like these holidays best because of gifts, bright emotions, colourful seeings, tasty food.

2.What holidays of other countries and peoples do you know?

3.We asked our students if sense and meaning of a holiday is important for them or they don't care.

So, we can say that the most popular holiday in Russia is New Year's Day. May be it's connected with the reason that it's a family holiday and it widely spreads over the world.

Also I want to pay your attention to this fact that most of students don't know anything about holidays of other peoples. It means the children don't get enough information about these holidays and about the world as a whole.

At the same time more than 86% of children claimed that for them it plays an important role which holidays they celebrate. It shows that the children realize a meaning of each holiday.

II. Integration

Integration is a process of combining or accumulating. The bringing of people of different racial or ethnic groups into unrestricted and equal association, as in society or an organization; desegregation.

1. Muslim Holidays

Muslim holidays generally celebrate the events of the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, especially the events surrounding the first hearing of the Qur'an. Islam has two main holidays, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. The way that holidays are recognized can vary across cultures, as well as across sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia. Muslim holidays generally follow the lunar calendar, and thus move each year relative to the solar calendar. Another name for Eid ul-Adha in some countries is the Kurban Bayrami. Eid ul-Adha is translated into English as “The Feast of Sacrifice”, when Muslims all over the world present an animal (usually a cow or a sheep) sacrifice as a gratitude action for God saving the Prophet Ismail's life. The slaughtered animal meat is divided into thirds, one for the person who is presenting the beast, one to the distributed to his poor relatives, and the last third for the needy, regardless of their religion, race or nationality. As with Eid ul-Fitr, there is an early morning prayer for the Eid, and celebrations are extended for Four days. Kurban Bayrami is a religious holiday for our family. As we live in Russia we have no conditions for keeping all our traditions. Here are the main customs of our family. On this bright holiday our relatives visit us. My mother cooks tasty food with sheep meat and many other national dishes. Before cooking of mutton our parents coat us with blood of this holy animal in order to all the troubles go away. Then we call to our relatives in Azerbaijan and congratulate them on Kurban Bayrami. After this my father prays and we start having our dinner. We asked 20 Muslim children in our school about their favourite holidays.

Here are given answers:

So, this diagram shows that the Muslim children whose parents moved to Russia have assimilated and adopted. Their favourite holiday became New Year's Day as the Russian children did. But at the same time Kurban Bayrami also played an important role in their life.

Unfortunately, Russian children almost have no opportunity to learn about Muslim holidays. Although there are big celebrations within our Russian communities, most people are unaware of them and hence the celebrations are in isolation and not really part of the whole society. Some feel that Russian society should be more aware and knowledgeable about when other religion's major festivals are and show more consideration. I think that “giving a card would be nice” or “making holiday leave easier to take” would show more awareness.


So, we hope Russia can be a center of integration of different cultures. Probably, no other country has so many mergers of the most different cultures. Many cultures are trying to be together. Russia is becoming the location for collision of two counteractive cultures: Eastern and Western. Some scientists are discussing the possibility of Russia's development as an “intercultural” country. They consider Russia can be the country that wouldn't permit the war against religions and cultures, but Russia would unite them on its territory.

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