Defender of the Fatherland Day on 23 February in Russia

In Russia, 23rd of February is known as the “Defender of the Fatherland Day”.  This national holiday is witnessed in the countries Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and several other former republics of the Soviet Union.


This national holiday was initiated in the year 1918 during the Russian Civil War. First time this event was celebrated in the year 1919.

Defenders of the FatherslandIn the month of January in 1919, it was decided that celebration of this day should be combined with anniversary of the publication of the decree on the establishment of the Red Army (also known as Red Army Day and Navy Day).

In 1919, it is celebrated on 17 February that falls on Monday. Later on it is decided to move this holiday to nearest Sunday which is fall on 23rd of February.

Why this celebration is?

The purpose of this national holiday is to celebrate the people who are serving or served the Russian armed forces. Initially it was for the both women and men but recently it is declared nationally as for men. On the contrary, women’s efforts are celebrated on International women’s day on 8th of March. This day is also given the name of “Men’s Day” because military services are compulsory for men in Russia.

How Men's day is celebrated in Russia?

This holiday is celebrated with full protocol for the ones who are serving the Russian Armed Forces. The day starts with parades and marches in honor of veterans. All the women give gifts to the men in their lives such as husband, brother, father and son. Women also give small gifts to their male colleagues as well.


National Ceremony of Men's Day in Moscow, 23 February 2008.

On this day, the symbols like Russian flags and soldiers are often appeared on the postcards and banners in all Russian cities. Most of the schools and offices are closed on this event all over the Russia.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin paid tribute to fallen soldiers by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall (Office of President of Russian Federation 23rd February, 2015).

Defender of the Fatherland Day in 2016

On 23 February, 2016 Moscow celebrated this event with full zeal to pay tribute to the bravery of Russian Army. The whole sky is illuminated with the lightening of fireworks in Moscow.

Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu

Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu

"The Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu praised the military servicemen involved in Syrian operation on the Defenders of the Fatherland Day.

He said that I am convinced that, as long as Russia has such defenders, it can look into the future with confidence. We are proud of you. On the occasion of the holiday, I have signed a decree on extraordinary promotions and decorations."

That is how the Defenders of the Fatherland Day which is now known as the “Men’s Day” now. This day is wholly for the men serving Russian army.

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