May 4, 2022
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Traditions of Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod is a city located at the confluence of the Oka and Volga rivers, the administrative center of the Volga Federal District of Russia. Founded in the early 13th century by Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich, Nizhny Novgorod became one of the main trading centers in Russia. From 1932 to 1990 the city bore the name of its famous native, Maxim Gorky. Since the center of Russia belongs to the regions with a multinational composition of the population, the traditions of Nizhny Novgorod combine elements of the culture of different peoples.

Traditions and customs of Nizhny Novgorod

cultural traditions

The beautiful old city of Nizhny Novgorod is justifiably proud of its rich cultural heritage. It is directly related to the development of Russian poetry of the Golden Age. In the village of Bolshoe Boldino, Nizhny Novgorod Region, there is a family nest of the noble Pushkin dynasty, whose representatives lived in Boldino for the 4th century. It was there that the great poet wrote “The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish”, “The Bronze Horseman”, the poems “The House in Kolomna”, “Spell”, completed work on the novel in verse “Eugene Onegin”. Now in Boldino there is a museum-reserve of Pushkin.

Pushkin Museum-Reserve

Since ancient times, the spiritual and religious center of Russia and the great shrine of Orthodoxy has been the Serafimo-​Diveevsky Convent located near Nizhny Novgorod. The largest convent in the world was built on the site that was chosen by the Most Holy Theotokos as Her Fourth Destiny on earth. The relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov, a hieromonk, founder and patron of the monastery monastery, are buried here. Diveevo is visited by pilgrims from all over Russia: Christians believe that if you spend a day in this holy place, you will receive a special blessing from the Heavenly Queen.

Serafimo-​Diveevsky Convent

Nizhny Novgorod traditionally hosts major literary and music festivals. One of them, dedicated to the literature of the peoples of Russia and dedicated to the Day of National Unity, is organized annually in early November. A literary fest dedicated to Maxim Gorky is held at the end of March at the Arsenal City Museum.

Of the numerous musical mass festivities, the largest festivals for Nizhny Novgorod are:

  • “Rock of pure water”. The festival has been held since 1990, and many of today’s popular musicians received a start in life.
  • Alfa Future People. Youth fest of electronic music, date – end of summer, venue – open-air venue in the suburbs of Bolshoe Kozino.
  • “Gorodets gingerbread”. Festival of the author’s song, which takes place in August in the recreation center “Druzhba”.
  • “WAFEst”. This popular festival is dedicated to art in all its manifestations, its full name is “Water – Air – Fire – Earth” – “Water, air, fire, earth”. The event is held in the Burevestnik boarding house in early July. Here you can go surfing, take a cruise along the Volga, listen to modern music, see unique fire shows, take part in health programs with yoga.

WAFEst festival

Folk holidays

The folk traditions of Nizhny Novgorod include a number of festive events dedicated to the periods of beginning or completion of field work and related to the seasons:

  • Ivana Kupala is an ancient Slavic holiday in honor of the summer solstice. On the Kupala night they burn bonfires and jump over them to be cleansed by the Kupala fire.
  • Trinity (Pentecost) is a holiday symbolizing the flowering of nature. All houses on this day are decorated with fresh grass.
  • Sabantuy is a summer holiday dedicated to the end of spring field work.
  • Shrovetide, the integral attributes of which are mass festivities, fairs, competitions of national dishes.

Maslenitsa in Novgorod

According to custom, gastronomic festivals are also held in Nizhny Novgorod, popular in all regions of Russia: “The Day of Charlottes and Autumn Pies” and “Oh, yes! Food!”. The traditional format of such fests is mass outdoor picnics.

Ancient crafts of the Nizhny Novgorod region

Since Nizhny Novgorod stands on major waterways, handicrafts here began to develop faster than in other places. The Nizhny Novgorod region still ranks first in terms of the diversity of NHP. The most common type of folk crafts is artistic painting:

  • Khokhloma. Painted wooden Khokhloma dishes are one of the most recognizable and popular in the world. The original technology of painting and gilding products has been preserved to this day. The world’s largest spoon, listed in the Guinness Book, is painted under Khokhloma. Its length is 2.67 meters.
  • Semenovskaya. This type of artistic painting developed in the early 30s of the last century on the basis of spoon painting. In the city of Semenov, Nizhny Novgorod region, they make world-famous wooden turning nesting dolls, “plot” (single) and “architectural”, several pieces nested one into one.
  • Polkhovsko-Maidanskaya. This is the author’s painting of wooden products with aniline paints. Among the motifs are flowers, landscapes, birds and animals. Masters of this craft make Easter eggs, salt shakers, goblets, trays.
  • Gorodetskaya. Type of painting on wood, characterized by an authentic ornamental theme. Appeared in the middle of the last century in the Nizhny Novgorod province. At first, details of spinning wheels were decorated with bright drawings, then they began to paint furniture, chests, caskets, toys. Egg and gouache paints were gradually replaced by oil and tempera.

Gorodets painting

Needlework has long been a traditional folk craft for Nizhny Novgorod. Many of its types are unique:

  • Gorodets gold embroidery. It is made on silk with gold and silver threads. The plots of embroidery are images of fabulous birds and animals, geometric or floral ornaments.
  • Nizhny Novgorod guipure. This is a special, unique type of line embroidery that combines counted embroidery and lace (creating an openwork pattern). The technique of Nizhny Novgorod line embroidery is called “guipure”, its basis is a grid, which is formed after pulling out certain threads of the fabric.
  • Balakhna lace. In this lace weaving technique, the pattern is created simultaneously across the entire width of the product, as when printing an image on a printer. For work, a large number of pairs of wooden bobbins are used, on which threads are wound, so the creation of Balakhna lace is a long and laborious process. But the result is beautiful airy mesh lace with a scattering of bizarre, fabulous flowers and leaves. They say that one of Catherine II’s favorite dresses was made from Balakhna lace.

In the list of priority for the Nizhny Novgorod province types of folk crafts and artistic metalworking. Thus, Vorsma knives made of Damascus steel and decorated with jasper, mother-of-pearl and bone are in great demand in Russia and abroad. Since 1939, an enterprise for the production of filigree products has been operating in Kazakovo, Vyachsky District, Nizhny Novgorod Region.

Kazakov filigree

Kazakovskaya filigree is an openwork pattern made of thin silver wire soldered onto vases, bowls, caskets, and jewelry.

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