Foreign students, who come to study at our University, from the first days of staying participate in various cultural extracurricular activities, contests and competitions.
Student's entertainment is based on the activity of several clubs, which are organized for development of amateur art, preservation of national traditions, self-actualization and leisure of students by combining them in creative teams.
Every year, SSTU’s cultural activities include:
New Year is a holiday which is very popular in many countries. We celebrate it in the end of December. Usually by this time students get acquainted with new life conditions and speak Russian a little. New Year is a family holiday and here students and teachers-supervisors become one family. The contest of wall newspapers is organized where each student can tell about New Year traditions of his/her country and learn more about Russian history and traditions.
Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. It is one of the main religious holidays in Russia. People usually go to church, cook tasty dishes, meet with their friends and family members and greet each other saying “Merry Christmas!”
At the contests “Mister of the SSTU” and “Miss of the SSTU” students can demonstrate their individual talents and achievements. These contests are held during popular Russian holidays February 23rd (Defender of the Motherland Day) and March 8th (International Women’s Day). Every participant of the contest should present his/her country and its traditions, gentlemen demonstrate their sport talents and ladies — creativity; communicative ability, comprehension skills and speaking in Russian are the main parameters. Usually there are no losers — each group supports its representative and the Faculty awards prizes and awards.
Professors of the Faculty pay much attention to cultural & educational projects. All students take part in excursion programs: part of them is paid by the University. Students are lucky to go in for bus excursions around the city.
Then there comes Maslenitsa, or a Butter Week, Crepe week, or Cheese fare Week), is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent — that is, the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter). Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday, and the Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date.
The most characteristic food of Maslenitsa is bliny (pancakes or crepes). Round and golden, they are made from the rich foods still allowed by the Orthodox tradition that week: butter, eggs and milk. During pagan times, the round and golden shape and color signified praise to the Sun because of pancakes' resemblance to it.
Maslenitsa activities also include snowball fights, sledding, riding on swings and plenty of sleigh rides. In some regions, each day of Maslenitsa had its traditional activity: one day for sleigh-riding, another for the sons-in-law to visit their parents-in-law, another day for visiting the godparents, etc. The mascot of the celebration is usually a brightly dressed straw effigy of Maslenitsa, formerly known as Kostroma.
On April, 12, Russians usually celebrate the Space Probe Day — the anniversary of the first manned orbit around the earth, achieved on Apr. 12, 1961, by the Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin. This is a very important date for many Russians, and we take pride in this event.
May might be called a month-off for Russians. In May, Russians enjoy public holidays to celebrate the start of spring and victory in World War II.
The Spring and Labor Day in Russia is a celebration of laborers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labor movement, and occurs every year on May Day, May 1, an ancient European spring holiday. Being a traditional European spring celebration, May Day is a national public holiday in Russia.
Victory Day or 9 May marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War (also known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union). The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. In the former Soviet Union this festival was celebrated to commemorate the Red Army's victory over the Nazi forces.
In recent years the Victory Day in Russia has increasingly been turning into a joyous celebration in which popular culture plays a great role. The celebration of the 60th anniversary of Victory Day in Russia in 2005 became the largest national and popular holiday since the collapse of the Soviet Union. People in Russia often go to visit historical landmarks on the 9, May to expand their knowledge about the Great Patriotic War. For example, The Motherland Calls (Russian: Родина-мать зовёт, Rodina Mat' Zovyot!) a colossal statue in Volgograd, Russia, commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad, play an important role in our cultural life. A lot of Saratov citizens go to Volgograd to visit this statue. In Saratov, there are also historical sites, like the Victory Park on the hill with a famous Cranes monument.
Traditionally these May days are a chance to go to the countryside to enjoy spring and to escape from everyday working routine.
There are a lot of international cultural actions. “Night in a museum” (in May) they can become great opportunities for free communication with citizens of Saratov, acquaintance with history and culture of Russia.
Russia Day is the national holiday of the Russian Federation, celebrated on June 12. It has been celebrated every year since 1992. People may attend concerts and firework shows that take place in many cities throughout the country, including Saratov. Prominent Russian writers, scientists and humanitarian workers receive State Awards from the President of Russia on this day. Most public offices and schools are closed on June 12.
Students of SSTU are well-known among Saratov citizens, because they often participate in big city holidays, especially in the City Day (in September) when concerts of different national communities who live in the Saratov Region take place.