Cosmonauts Day

Cosmonauts Day

April 12
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel in outer space. His one-hour-and-48-minute flight aboard the Vostok 1 caught the world's imagination and filled the Soviet people with pride. April 12th was declared Cosmonauts Day in Gagarin's honor.
Official ceremonies on this day begin in the Moscow suburb of Korolyov, well-known as the center of Russian rocket production, where officials and former cosmonauts lay flowers at a statue of Gagarin. Participants then walk to Red Square and Gagarin's grave at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. They then proceed to Gagarin's statue in Cosmonauts Alley, a nearby walkway that leads to the Monument to the Conquerors of Space, and end at Gagarin's grave in the Novodevichy Cemetery.
The general public celebrates the day in a less formal manner. Some place flowers at statues of Gagarin in various cities, while others attend space-themed art and film exhibitions or fashion shows featuring designs based on cosmonaut spacesuits and helmets. Moscow's Institute of Medico-Biological Problems, which produces the food and beverages that cosmonauts use in space, has opened its doors for the general public to taste samples of space food, including vacuum-packed vodka. In 2007, Russian and American astronauts aboard the international space station celebrated the day with a six-course meal provided by Martha Stewart.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
202-298-5700; fax: 202-298-5735
www.russianembassy.org
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