Today was our first International Friday at my home daycare and the kids learned about Russia. I figured for the month of July I would start out with something I know well.
Russia is the largest country in the world and is actually on two continents (Europe and Asia). Russia is considered a Eurasian country and the people are categorized by language as Slavic. Russia was once a part of 3 continents before they sold the Territory of Alaska to the United States. Russia is a country that can be very cold and has basically two seasons, summer and winter. Summers are warm and humid, but winters can be cold an severe. In the subarctic tundra areas of Siberia it is cold most of the time.
Russia has been through a lot of changes throughout her history. She was once a vast Empire ruled by Kings, then she became a communist country, and now she is a federal constitutional republic with a president elected by the people (kind of lol).
A common Russian breakfast is quite plain. Many eat a piece of rye bread and drink tea. Russians are tea drinkers and not big coffee drinkers. Even in workplaces Russians take tea breaks, not coffee breaks. A typical lunch usually is some cold food, like Russian salad. Russian salad usually has potatoes, boiled eggs, pickles, little pieces of ham, and mayonnaise. It’s not like salad in the United States. A Russian dish for dinner is Stroganov. Stroganov is thin slices of beef sauteed with onions and mushrooms in a sauce made from sour cream. It is then served over egg noodles.
RUSSIAN FOLK DRESS:
People of Russia have many cultural differences. Aside from Russians, there are Tartars, Ukrainians, Bashkirs (who are from the people of Turkey), Cuvash people from Siberia (who are related to Mongolians), Chechens (a Muslim people from the Caucasus region), and also Jewish people. All these different people have their on culture, traditions, language, and folk dress. The Russian folk dress is typically like what is shown above.
Russian language is categorized as a Slavic Language of the Indo-European family. Their writing is Cyrillic and the Russian alphabet has 33 letters.
Even though Christianity is the main religion of Russia, Judaism and Islam are also present. Most Russians are Orthodox Christians, which is a lot like Catholicism. The main difference is that the Orthodox Church has their doctrine in the Old Slavonic tongue and the Roman Catholic Church’s is in Old Latin. Most Slavic countries that use Cyrillic system writing are going to typically be Orthodox, and those that use Roman system of writing usually are Catholic. For example, Christianity in Russian/Cyrillic writing and Christianity in Latin/Roman writing:
TOYS AND GAMES IN RUSSIA:
Even though Chess originated in India a long long time ago, Russian children and adults love to play it. Russians are even known to be quite good as well. Nesting Dolls (or Matryoshka) are little hollowed out hand painted wooden dolls. They usually come in sets of 8 or more. Children love to play with them, fitting one inside the other and lining them up side by side from biggest to smallest. Grandmas (Babushki) are even known to hide their buttons and sewing needles inside.
MUSIC IN RUSSIA:
Russians listen to a lot of music from around the world. They especially like American, British, and German pop, rock and hip-hop music. Some of the greatest composers in history were Russian. Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky was one of the these great composers. He is best known in America for the music from the Nutcracker, especially the Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
DANCING IN RUSSIA:
Although ballet as we know it today originated in France, Russians took the art and perfected it. The strict Russian discipline of Russian Ballet schools is world renowned and many Western Dancers travel all the way to Russia just to study ballet at Russian Ballet schools. The Kirov (Mariinsky now) and Bolshoi Ballet companies are considered some of the best of the best.
Russian folk dances, like the Kalinka are famous for their spins and the low-high kicks that are actually very difficult to preform. Russian folk dance is very vigorous and takes a lot of stamina and core and lower body strength.
RUSSIAN NEW YEAR/CHRISTMAS:
When the communist took over the monarchy in Russia, one of the things they did was forbid Christmas. They did however allow the New Year celebrations. Over time New Years and Christmas were combined into one. Even though there is still a traditional Christmas day the real celebrations happen on New years. Children can even see Ded Moroz, (Father Frost/Santa) and Snegurochka, (The Snow Maiden).
THE STORY OF FATHER FROST (DED MOROZ) AND THE SNOW MAIDEN (SNEGUROCHKA):
Snegurochka actually has her own story and origins. Click the link below to read her story.
Our Matryoshka are all dry and ready to go home. 🙂 We learned to say Hi and Bye in Russian too. 🙂
Bellow are links to print out some blank nesting dolls to color or paint. If you paint it’s best to use card stock: