© Michael Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, November 4. /TASS/. On Sunday, Russia celebrates the National Unity Day. By tradition, on this day is marked with various cultural festivals, concerts, flash mobs, sports relay races all over the country. These activities are aimed at uniting people of all ages and professions, introducing them to traditions and art of numerous peoples living in the Russian Federation.

The Unity Day is one of the youngest national holidays. It was established in 2005 replacing the Day of Consent and Reconciliation, which had been celebrated on November 7 (formerly Revolution Day) since 1996. It marks the events of 1612 when people’s militias led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky liberated Moscow from Polish invaders.

Historically, the holiday marks the end of the Time of Troubles (1598-1613), which comprises the years of interregnum, the Polish-Muscovite War and a deep social and economic crisis, and symbolizes the unity of people and their ability to unite during the difficult time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will give a state award for strengthening unity of the Russian nation during a ceremony in the Kremlin. The award was introduced in 2016 for activity aimed at uniting the multi-ethnic Russian people and harmonizing interethnic relations, the Kremlin press service said. This year, the award will be given to the President of the Russian Academy of Education, Lyudmila Verbitskaya.

Traditionally, on this day Putin will also hand over the Orders of Friendship to foreign citizens for their special merits in enhancing peace, friendship and mutual understanding between people, and preserving and promoting the Russian language and culture abroad.

The president will also lay flowers to the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky on Red Square. Later in the day, Putin is scheduled to attend the exhibitions in Moscow’s Manezh Central Exhibition Hall. This time the exposition is called “Orthodox Russia by the Day of National Unity. Treasures of Russian Museums”. It is timed to two holidays: the National Unity Day and also celebration in honor of the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan. The second holiday was established in gratitude for liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders in 1612. The Kazan Icon was the main shrine of the Minin and Pozharsky militias.

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