03 August 2020

02 August is the Day of Airborne Forces in Russia and in some countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union. The celebration symbolizes recognition of the merits of military specialists in ensuring the defense and security of the state. On this day many cities traditionally host demonstration performances of paratroopers, concerts and other entertainment activities.

The celebrants have an interesting tradition - on this day they bathe in the city fountains. There are several versions of the roots of this seemingly strange custom. The first is connected with the celebration of the Slavic holiday dedicated to Elijah the Profet. One of the rituals performed by the Slavs on that day was washing with spring water. Over time, it transformed into a full immersion in water, and then, among the military, into a dip into the city fountains.

Another version speaks of the courage of the military paratroopers. According to an old legend, everyone who entered the water on 02 August risked being drowned by mermaids and other aquatic vermin. But the paratroopers are not afraid of mermaids and willingly demonstrate it.

Finally, the most trivial version: The weather in August is usually quite hot in Russia. Therefore, the celebrants strolling under the blistering summer sun simply need to cool off, and fountains come in handy.