Archive | 1:15 pm

Metallurgist Day (День Металлурга)

23 Jul

If I could craft the ideal scene in our film it would involve everybody who we have filmed throughout our time here, all cooking and enjoying a meal. It would be the scene in which everybody and everything comes together. Where they just all sit back and enjoy one anothers company and for those few hours, everything is perfect. Realistically, this could never happen. These handfuls of people live in different parts of the country, few knowing one another, and it would just never happen. If there was a moment, though, where it got close, it was Metallurgy Day in Krasnouralsk.

Crowd members cheering for the musicians on the park stage the night before Metallurgy Day.

 

 

Coming in on an afternoon bus and meeting our lovely translator of the weekend, Svetlana, we began to walk to find some food. As we walked through the seemingly new streets of Krasnouralsk, we noticed not only the new fountain (turned on just days before the big holiday) and the newly painted curbs, but also live music coming from a park. In between two buildings there was a small performance. Walking up, we noticed that it was a band we had filmed our previous time in Kranouralsk). As we stood back up to watch, Vasiliy came up to greet us and the band noticed, then called us towards the humble park stage to announce the arrival of their American friends. From there, looking to the crowd, we saw handfuls of familiar faces singing and dancing along to the local music. It was about as close to my ideal scene as I could ever hope for, and Metallurgy Day hadn’t even begun.

 


We began the holiday early the next morning with Vasiliy taking us mushroom hunting: A Russian goal realized as we tromped through the forest looking for the most delicious, non-poisonous mushrooms we could find. To my surprise, it is a lot more hardcore than I had imagined. You need a knife, an extreme amount of bug spray and protective clothing to fend off mosquitoes. Needless to say, this is a new favorite pastime of mine although I’ve yet to do it since.  I could easily write a whole blog post on just this event, but I feel like that would just be too much excitement, as [ending spoiler!] there are fireworks eventually involved.  So to try to not get you too worked up with excitement, I’ll just post a few pictures and let you imagine how great this was.

 

Tree and Vasiliy picking out the best, non-poisonous mushrooms.

 

Our hardcore National Geographic pictures of us with cameras and knives in the forest. So we were only hunting mushrooms, but it was still a hunt and we still got to carry knives.

Upon our arrival back to Krasnouralsk, the Metallurgy celebrations had truly began.  Brief history lesson: Metallurgy Day started as a Soviet celebration of the metal and rock industry that supports the entire Ural region.  It is a celebration of the work they do, and the biggest holiday of the year.  This year was extra special, as it was simultaneously the 80th anniversary of Krasnouralsk being a town.  Howevver, we are under the impression that every year is this big.

The beginning of the parade, bands and marchers going through the newly painted and washed center of Krasnouralsk. Photo by Tree Gore.

The events kicked off with a parade. Between the bands and people marching in the parade, every person in this town of 30,000 was either involved or spectating. Or the city imported people to participate as the streets were full of people. The parade ended at the stadium, along the way passing the rows of shashleek, cotton candy, and carnival games. The evening progressed into concerts of local bands, pop singers from Moscow, dancers, and ended with, nothing less spectacular fireworks and a laser show. It was the biggest celebration I had ever witnessed and a new favorite. Perhaps it is my new favorite because of how fantastic it was, but I am pretty sure it is more because of the sense of community you could just feel as everybody greeted on another with “Happy Holiday”, “С Праздником.”

 

 

A little girl, dressed up and with a wig to celebrate the holiday.

 

A boy selling balloons among smoke from grills and people waiting in line for carnival games, enjoying one another in the meantime.

 

A handful of old and new friends at the stadium waiting for the evening performances to start.

 

Tree, deciding that it would be great to see how many people we could get to dance with us in front of the camera. This may have lasted a couple of hours.

 

And, of course, it is not a celebration without fireworks.

 

Unfortunatly, we will not be visiting Krasnouralsk anymore on this journey. It has been one of our favorites, with us never grudging to visit it once more. As our project begins to see its end within the next month, we feel like we’re only beginning to see the real Russia. With each person we meet, we begin to realize that we are not having typical Russian tourist experiences, or even adventures many who have lived here their whole lives get to have. Yet we feel too like we are just starting to understand life here, of course as we are forced to plan our departure in the next few weeks. Looks like if we want to understand even more, we’ll just have to move here one day.