International Cucumber Festival

International Cucumber Festival

Cucumber Festival in Suzdal is an original Russian holiday dedicated to everyone's favorite vegetable. Its popularity has been growing from year to year. The holiday was invented in 2001 by the employees of the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve not by chance: vegetable growing has long been the leading occupation of the inhabitants of Suzdal and the fertile Suzdal Opolye. Even in the famous work "The Historical Assembly about the City of Suzhdal", written by Anania Fedorov, the chronicler of the 18th century, the key-keeper of the Nativity Cathedral, one can find such words: "In the city of Suzhdal onions, garlic, and cucumbers grow in abundance thanks to the fertile soil and fresh air". Today, Suzdal cucumber-growers and their products are well known far beyond the borders of the Vladimir region.

In Soviet times, cucumber was a real "breadwinner" of the inhabitants of Suzdal.   Cucumbers give a huge crop in a small area with proper organization of sowing and good care. The experience of cucumber growing has become a special asset in Suzdal.

Cucumber festival is held at the second half of July. It is the best time for   harvesting. The Museum of Wooden Architecture is a very good place for the holiday, which is celebrated according to folk tradition. The crafts fair and mass festivities always cause public interest. Master classes in pottery, withy weaving and wood carving are especially spectacular.

In the "Crafts row" you can make a traditional Akila-borage amulet with your own hands. It has long been believed that the doll of natural unpainted fabrics preserves pickles. Its secret is in the mustard seeds, which protect stocks from mold. The doll’s head is stuffed with seeds and then the doll is placed into the pickle.  

Varied program of the Cucumber festival always astonishes visitors with  artifice and ingenuity. A mandatory part of the holiday is a parade of cucumber-growers, not only from Suzdal and Vladimir, but from other Russian cities and even from abroad. Delegations come here to exchange experience in cucumber growing. In the "Gluttonous Row" one can try cucumbers for every taste, in the "Pickling Row" master classes in cucumber harvesting are held. There is no limit to imagination in the organization of all these "cucumber" contests!  

The atmosphere of the Museum of Wooden Architecture is conducive to mass festivals with folk games, round dances, ritual songs and fun. One of the organizers of mass public events is the ensemble of folk songs "Radunitsa" at the Center of Culture and Leisure of the Suzdal region. Among the guests of the festival one can meet the best Russian folk music groups, as well as folk groups from abroad.

Cucumber Day in Suzdal with its flavor of Russian traditions and rites is very interesting for foreign creative delegations and tourists from China, Germany, Italy, France, Bulgaria and other countries.

For almost two decades while Cucumber Day is being held in Suzdal, there has been a touching tradition to finish the holiday: a cucumber doll (in different images annually) flies into the sky with green balloons, leaving the nostalgia of parting, as well as the hope to meet next year.

Author: V. Korolkova