Pervi Svonok on September 1: end of summer and first day of school between Minsk and Vladivostok
There is probably no other cultural and linguistic area in the world with such a vast geography as the post-Soviet one. It is easily 10,000 kilometers from Minsk to Vladivostok, and yet for children from Minsk in Belarus, from Chuchotka beyond the Arctic Circle in the Far East, from the depths of Mongolia or from Tajikistan, September 1 looks the same. It’s off to school, for many for the first time.
The origin of this holiday is officially attributed to 1984, when the relevant directive was adopted, but Soviet children began to start the school year on September 1 back in 1935. After the outbreak of World War I, young socialists initiated an annual International Youth Day to hold anti-war actions and peace lessons in schools in all countries. September 1 has been the date of World Youth Day since 1932, at the suggestion of the Comintern for Youth. And as early as September 3, 1935, by a decree of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Central Committee of the Communist Party, a single start for classes in all schools in the USSR was introduced on September 1.
Prior to that there was no strict date for the start of the school year. During the Russian Empire urban schoolchildren began their studies in late August – early September, and in rural areas – on December 1. This was due to the fact that the village children helped their parents to run a large farm, and could not go to school until the end of all the field work.
The first school day of the year begins with a solemn ruler, as well as a lesson of peace and knowledge, which has become a good tradition.
There is another wonderful tradition, inherited from the Soviet times: to give teachers flowers for the beginning of the school year, so children go to school on September 1, armed not only with bags, but also with flowers, which makes the whole atmosphere a holiday.
This year in the spirit of this holiday opened the doors of the International German School, the first in Minsk, and in general in Belarus. It gathers under its arches children not only from Belarusian families but also families who came from Germany and other countries. Agata Sidorovich, a German woman who not only fell in love with Belarus as the motherland of her husband, but also managed to create a piece of Germany in Minsk, realized this wonderful project. The project of German kindergarten, which has been successfully working for 4 years, grew and was complemented by the school project, where according to Belarusian traditions, on September 1, but with traditional German Schultüten, first graders went to their first lesson. You can watch the interview with Agata on our YouTube channel.