Victory Day, celebrated in Russia on May 9, is the anniversary of Nazi Germany's capitulation to the Soviet Union. Germany's surrender brought an end to World War II, a war which exacted a terrible toll on Russia and its citizens. Approximately 24 million Russians died as a result of the war.
Victory Day is a national holiday in Russia and public schools, government offices, and most businesses are closed. Russians typically celebrate by attending a local military parade, watching fireworks, and giving red carnations to living veterans or placing them at war memorials. It is also a tradition to hold feasts in the veterans’ honor and to watch World War II films on television. Schools may also hold programs featuring wartime poetry and music.
The biggest Victory Day celebration in Russia is the Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square. The parade showcases Russia’s forces and thousands of people attend the awe-inspiring display of military might. This year’s parade will be the largest parade that has ever been held in Moscow during the post-Soviet years and will include foreign military forces for the first time.