Tatiana Day is a Russian religious holiday observed on 25 January according to the Gregorian calendar ( January 12 according to the Julian). It is named after Saint Tatiana. The Martyress Tatiana lived in Rome at the turn of the II-III centuries, during the reign of Emperor Alexander the Severus. According to legend, for refusing to sacrifice to Apollo, Tatiana was tortured. But the next day her wounds always healed, and statues of pagan gods were destroyed three times through her prayer. Tatiana and her father were executed on 12 January 226. Later, Tatiana of Rome was proclaimed a Saint, and the day of her death became Tatiana’s day.
January 25 (January 12, old style), 1755 the Russian Empress Elizabeth approved the petition of her favorite Ivan Shuvalov and signed a decree on the opening of the first University in Russia. It is believed that Shuvalov thus made a kind of birthday gift to his mother Tatiana Rodionovna. The church of Saint Tatiana was later built in the university campus. Since then, St. Tatiana is considered the patroness of students and teachers. A traditional service is conducted at the University’s church on 25 January, followed by speeches and the awarding of prizes.
The Russian Orthodox Church declared Saint Tatiana the patron saint of students, and Tatiana Day has come to be celebrated as Russian Students Day. The observance has a long tradition of festive activities. In 1885, Chekhov wrote, “This year everything was drunk, except the water from the Moscow river, and only because it was frozen”.Parties begin with a traditional honey-based mead. Frenchman Olivier, the owner of the “Hermitage”, even gave the restaurant hall to students and professors to celebrate the holiday. Although originating in Moscow, St. Tatiana’s Day celebrations have spread to most university towns. In other cities, including Tomsk, students got a free drink on Tatiana’s day in restaurants. When the policemen met a drunk student, they did not touch him, but, on the contrary, offered their help.
In the Soviet Union, Tatiana’s day was banned. Its revival as a holiday of all students took place on January 25, 2005-after the restoration of the Church in honor of the Martyr Tatiana at Moscow University, this holiday became official and is celebrated in accordance with the decree of the President of the Russian Federation as the day of Russian students.
Tatiana’s day in Tomsk
Tomsk is considered one of the most student cities in Russia: every eighth resident of Tomsk is a student. The city has six state universities, as well as a number of commercial universities and branches of nonresident universities.
On Tatiana’s day Tomsk students gather together at the monument to Saint Tatiana on Novosobornaya square (by sculptors Nikolai and Anton Gnedyh). There is the tradition of dressing St. Tatiana among the frosty winter has for several years. They put on a cap, mittens, scarves on bronze Saint.