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23 Feb, 2012 19:37

Fireworks for the Fatherland (VIDEO)

Colorful bursts of light have filled the sky of the Russian capital as a massive fireworks display marked Defender of the Fatherland Day.

Thirty volleys from 72 firework installations accompanied by 18 artillery shells set the night alight in Moscow at 9:00 pm local time on Russia’s most manly of holidays. The February 23 Defender of the Fatherland Day pays tribute to all those living and dead who have or continue to serve in Russia’s armed forces.All across the country, a series of processions, parades and concerts have been held to mark the solemn occasion.Earlier in the morning, Russian leaders and members of the Federal Assembly of Russia laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall, which is dedicated to all those who lost their lives during the World War II.Defender of the Fatherland Day was first celebrated in 1922 as Red Army Day. In 1949, it was renamed Soviet Army and Navy Day, which was later changed to its current name after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.Informally, it is also celebrated as a more general ‘Men’s day.’