Russian students paint the town red on their saint’s day

After weeks of hard work and sleepless nights for their mid-year exams, millions of Russian students get to pack away their books to celebrate their patron saint.

St. Tatyana's Day marks the end of the winter term – and the start of some heavy partying. It is also the 255th anniversary of Russia's main university.

Thousands of students will gather on Red Square, where they will skate, partake in competitions and attend a concert with Russian pop stars. The Moscow mayor officials will congratulate them on the holiday too.

On the day the leading Russian educational establishment Moscow State University (MGU) is also celebrating its birthday. On January 25, 1755, Empress Elizabeth of Russia signed a decree to open the university on the request of Count Ivan Shuvalov and academic Mikhail Lomonosov.

The day of the decree coincided with Shuvalov’s mother Tatyana’s name day. On this day the Russian Orthodox Church remembers Russian martyr Tatyana, who is considered to be a patron saint of all students.

The head of the Moscow State University Student’s Union Andrey Andriyanov said St. Tatyana’s Day is special for the students.

“This day is the birthday of our university and this day is when the student vacation starts,” he said. “This day is when a lot of students are wearing scarves, T-shirts, different things with the university symbols.”

Watch the full interview with Andrey Andriyanov

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MGU celebrations have started off with a mass served by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill at the university’s church and will continue with several forums and meetings.

Moscow State University student Stanislav Ageenko said that at dawn the celebrations will go far beyond the university’s walls.

“We plan several parties all over Moscow in different nightclubs,” he said, adding that foreign students will also join in the fun. “We can share the experience with them and show them how to party in a Russian style.”

On the second day of celebration, January 26, Moscow’s mayor traditionally brings a barrel of the honey drink “medovukha” to treat the university students, who will host informal concerts.

This year the day will conclude with a gala concert of “Tatyana’s day” which is in honour of the best students of the university.

Student’s day on January 25 is one of the seven memorable dates in Russia. Former Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced it officially in January of 2004.