Halloween to Spook St. Petersburg
Published: October 30, 2013 (Issue # 1784)
St. Petersburg native Sergei Sokholov, 43, sits at a brightly-lit table surveying the costume shop he owns. The shop, Naduvnoi Apelsin (Puff Orange), has been in business since 2000. It sells everything one would expect of a Halloween store: Multicolored wigs, makeup, hairspray in unnatural colors and costumes ranging from threatening pirate to fluffy ballerina. But it was only six years ago Ч seven years after he opened his costume shop Ч that Sokholov heard about Halloween.
УAt first, the duty of this store was to provide products for theaters, festivals and Carnival. But it has turned out that Halloween, which many people did not understand then, has become the headliner of the carnival industry,Ф Sokholov told The St. Petersburg Times.
Like Sokholov, Alyona Manokhina, 29, has lived in St. Petersburg her whole life. Manokhina, who now manages a charity called Vega, began celebrating in her mid-teens.
УI think I first heard about it 15 years ago. I learned about it from English teachers at school,Ф she said.
УAnd because we have Internet, we are now closer to Europe and other countries. We are closer and more free to do what we want,Ф Manokhina said, explaining that the traditionally Western holiday came into fashion as part of a rising interest in Western culture among Russian youth after the fall of the Soviet Union.
УBecause of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union, we didnТt know about the lives of other people,Ф she said.
Sokholov, on the other hand, says he did not expect Russians to embrace Halloween so quickly, precisely because he considered it a Western holiday with Western roots. УTo me it was a little surprising. ItТs a European holiday, itТs an American holiday and it has no relation to Russia,Ф he said.
Kseniya Kokorina, 20, a student at Smolny College, agrees with Manokhina. However, she says that HalloweenТs Western background gives it more appeal. Kokorina, who grew up in Veliky Ustyug, never celebrated Halloween when she was a child.
УI heard of Halloween a long time ago. When I was a child, I saw American movies and I knew Halloween existed. But I didnТt celebrate it,Ф she explained.
Kokorina started celebrating Halloween when she was 14 and has continued to celebrate every year since. She has noticed that the holiday is popular mostly among younger generations, while older generations of Russians donТt seem to understand its appeal.
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