Moscow will host its first lovers’ festival on 23 April, the first Sunday after Easter (or Low Sunday), Krasnaya Gorka. It will take place between noon and 9 pm at the Izmailovo Kremlin centre of Russian culture.
The festival programme will feature speed dating. Young men and women will have several minutes to get acquainted with each other. This will allow them to meet several potential candidates at the same time. Legend has it that on this day, those who want to get married should not be spending the day at home but join public celebrations and meet new people.
It is said that marriages registered on Krasnaya Gorka will be long and happy, therefore the central theme of the festival will be the Russian wedding. Visitors will be able to see all stages of this ancient ritual, including viewing of the bride, bridewealth and the church marriage.
Muscovites will also be able to see the ancient pre-Christian Slavic rite: the blacksmith’s wedding. Couples, led by a professional blacksmith, will forge iron hearts that they can then take home.
In the Izmailovo Kremlin, there will be “love nests” where young people will be able to talk to each other. Two-metre tall stilt walkers will hand out sweets and balloons.
The festival will also feature traditional men’s competitions, such as tug-of-war, hammering nails and cutting wood. Blacksmiths will have workshops as well. Young women will be able to learn to make wreaths and braid hair, paint eggs and make dolls and brooches. A competition will be held for the most beautiful girl on Krasnaya Gorka.
In all, no less than 10,000 people will be able to take part in the festival. The programme will feature dance flashmobs and traditional Russian games, as well as Easter celebrations such as egg rolling. Decorated eggs are rolled down wooden slopes, and if the egg does not break then the year will be happy.
“We are happy to organise a youth festival and combine it with folk celebrations and traditions, and of course, a romantic spring mood,” said Vitaly Suchkov, head of the Moscow Department for National Policy and Interregional Relations. “We invite everyone, but especially young men and women, to celebrate this Sunday in a fun way. Maybe this first lovers’ festival will become a good tradition.”
The press service of the Izmailovo Kremlin cultural centre added that the main idea of the festival is to create a comfortable and fun environment for free communications between young Muscovites and to remind them about the importance of traditions in everyone’s personal life.
Guests will also be able to try traditional Russian dishes: round loaf, pancakes, scones and sunny side eggs, the symbol of the sun and spring. Offered will also be meat pies, pastries with cottage cheese, gingerbread and bread rolls, as well as mead, sbiten (Russian hot sweet drink) and horseradish vodka.
The festival will conclude with the release of 20 white doves from the steps of the Church of St Nicholas. A firework display will take place at 9 pm near the Kremlin walls.
Krasnaya Gorka is the first Sunday after Easter. Traditionally, many couples get married on the eve of this day. This year, 916 couples will get married on 21 April and 1,099 couples on 22 April.