Today’s a holiday in Russia. It used to be a day to recognize those who served in the armed forces, that is all men (and a few women). It became a sort of “Men’s Day” as a counterpart to International Women’s Day on March 8, which is a big deal in Russia too. Now that most men try to avoid “compulsory” military service (and for good reason), most young men I know feel kind of silly about this holiday, since they haven’t defended a goddamn thing. Nonetheless, gifts and cards and congratulations are given to males of all ages.

Here’s a greeting card I found in a shop. It says “To our classmate on the 23rd of February” and is probably for 10-year-old schoolboys. The text reads:

Having congratulated you with the holiday today,
We wish on this day
To defend your fatherland as you should,
Love your relatives, family and friends!

May your way be happy!
And may the light of our school friendship
Always remain at the heart of your
Success, happiness and victories!