11 Crazy Russian Traditions. Super Fun Facts About Russia
You’ve probably heard plenty of crazy things about harsh Russians, their traditions and cultures. Some of them are true and others are certainly myths. Let’s review some super fun facts about Russia that turned out to be true.
1. Russian winter is super cold
Indeed, Russia is the coldest country in the world. It holds the record of the coldest permanently inhabited settlements on Earth.
For example, on 6 February 1933, a temperature of −67.7 °C (−89.9 °F) was recorded in Oymyakon town. An average January’s temperature in Siberia is −25 °C (−13 °F). Just imagine how cold it is and how difficult it is to live there.
No wonder that people living in such a dangerous place are harsh and brutal. Here are some more fun facts about Russia.
2. Russians jump into the ice hole in winter
Do you remember that Russia is the coldest country on Earth? Here is the crazy thing about Russians. They have a tradition to jump into the ice-hole in winter.
This happens annually on Epiphany holiday. People gather in large groups and go to the river or lake. They make a hole in the ice in form of cross or circle and actually jump into the water.
Even president Putin does that every year!
3. Russia is the largest country in the world
Russian Federation has an impressive territory. It is almost twice bigger than the USA and 28 times bigger than the largest country in Europe (Ukraine).
It occupies about one-ninth (1/9th) of the Earth’s land mass. It’s huge! Even though, Russia is unconditionally the biggest country in the world, it is only 9th country by population. It means that people are widely scattered across the country.
4. Russian President works in the world’s biggest medieval fortress
Sounds strange, right? Indeed, Russian president works in a Moscow Kremlin.
It’s a large fortified complex built in 15th century. This fortress includes: five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with 19 Kremlin towers (some of them are 260+ feet in height).
It’s massive, complex and beautiful at the same time. Now just imagine what delegations from other countries feel entering the territory of the Kremlin? I bet it’s a combination of fear and admiration.
5. Have you heard about the tank biathlon?
Yes, this is not a typo. Russians actually have the tank biathlon competitions. No kidding.
It’s a real sport where tank crews drive and shoot various targets on different distances. The quickest and the most accurate team wins.
Russia also arranged international competitions and won all of them so far. Cool and frightening, isn’t it?
6. Russians have special drinking culture
Every year Russia is in top 10 drinking countries in the world. And they have a special drinking culture.
First of all, they drink strong alcohol. You definitely hear about their attitude towards vodka, right?
Second of all, they do it at all events, including vacations, birthdays, parties, funerals, even religious holidays.
Third of all, when they drink they also eat a lot. If you visit a party in the USA or Europe you will have some snacks, maybe some sandwiches. But if you go to Russian party you will be seated at a huge table with plenty of meals and drinks.
Also, traditionally Russians like clink glasses and toast every time they drink. For some reason it’s super important for them. That is why they also hate to drink alone.
7. Russian women always dress to impress
The beauty of Russian women is mesmerizing. Due to genes variety Russian girls have both Eastern and Western traits.
When you have a chance to walk through their cities you will be surprised by number of women dressed like they are going to the Oscar ceremony.
Indeed, they love to put on makeup and dress beautiful clothing, shoes and purses.
It doesn’t matter whether they go to the romantic dinner or simply walk in the park. They will look like Hollywood stars.
8. Russians have thousands of weird superstitions
Probably there is no country that has that many superstitions. Moreover Russian superstitions are extremely weird and there is no way to understand where they are coming from.
Here are some examples.
- “If your nose itches, you will have some drink really soon”. No wonder, considering the fact that it’s one of the most drinking nations…
- “If your right hand itches, you’re going to get money shortly”. It seems like they itch a lot.
- “If a cat is washing its face, expect guests”. Well, cats do that all the time.
- “If someone sneezes while telling something, it means it is truth”. But what if not?
- “If you wear a shirt inside out, you will get beaten”. So pay attention.
- “For a good luck spit 3 times over your left shoulder”. Russians think that there is a devil sitting on their left shoulder.
- “If you see a woman with empty buckets it’s a bad omen”. They think that empty buckets will bring empty pockets.
- “It is taboo for the stranger to look at the newborn baby before 1 year old. If for some reason it happens, he or she has to say What a bad child or What an ugly baby”.
9. Some Russian holidays are really dangerous
We were already speaking about the Russian holiday called Epiphany when they jump into the ice-hole with −25 °C (−13 °F) outside. It’s extremely dangerous, but it’s not the only crazy Russian tradition.
Jumping over the fire on Ivan Kupala holiday. It’s a summer holiday and traditionally Russians light fires and jump over them. Sometimes a bonfire is really large, but they still do that.
Some Russians like to go to sauna (banya) before the New Year’s Eve. They think it cleans the body and the soul. But the problem is that they increase the temperature in sauna till 100-110 °C (212-230 °F).
Moreover, they drink alcohol there and beat each other with a besom. Usually they make besoms with birch or oak branches.
So, just try to imagine this picture. Drunk Russians in a super hot sauna beat each other with oak besoms. It’s almost as frightening as a tank biathlon.
10. What about the Mummy in the middle of Moscow?
Lenin was a leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917 and the main ideologist of the USSR.
He died in 1924. But they didn’t bury him. What they did is they embalmed his body and put it into the mausoleum in the middle of the Red Square.
So, it has been almost 100 years there. As of 2020 it is still there. They have a special laboratory that looks after the body.
Did you think it’s possible only in Ancient Egypt? Nope, It is also possible in modern Russia.
11. Russian food: super strange but tasty
As we already mentioned Russians like to eat. They do it on every party, holiday, occasion. However, some of their meals raise a lot of questions from foreigners. Here are some of them.
Holodets / Studen’
Holodets is a meat jelly. It may sound really weird, but it appears to be tasty.
They prepare this meal with either pork leg or chicken. They boil meat with onions, carrots and bay leaves for a long time and then freeze it in the fridge.
It it takes on a jelly consistency and served with mustard or horseradish.
Shuba / Sel’d’ pod Shuboj
The name of this dish is translated as a “herring under a fur coat”. It’s a popular salad in Russia. It is prepared in layers.
The 1st layer is herring, then onions, boiled potatoes, carrots. All the layers are covered with mayonnaise from both sides. It’s definitely a high-calorie food.
Okroshka is a cold soup. The name can be translated as “crumble”. They crumble cucumber, eggs, potatoes and dill there.
Instead of water they use kvass (it’s a traditional Russian beverage made from rye bread).
And now it’s time for a dessert. Kissel is a thick jelly juice usually made with berries. They mix berries with sugar potato starch.
When you pour kissel it is jelly-like. most of tourists admit that this desert looks strange but tastes good.
Fun Facts About Russia Wrap Up
As we can see there are plenty of super fun facts about Russia and Russians.
Due to large historical, geographical and climatic impact some of their traditions and superstitions are extraordinary to say the least.
This all makes this nation interesting and attractive for foreigners.Make sure to also check the article 5 Reasons to Marry Russian Woman.