Russian Language Blog

Russian Golden Autumn Posted by on Sep 14, 2020 in Culture

Officially, autumn (о́сень) in Russia begins on September 1 and ends on October 31. In each climatic zone, fall (о́сень) has its own characteristics and duration. Nevertheless, it is the shortest, but for me the most picturesque and romantic season.

Autumn in Russia

The weather in early September (сентя́брь) is usually cool (прохла́дно). Then the Indian summer (“ба́бье ле́то“, which means “grandmother’s summer”) begins. This is a short period of mild (мя́гкий), sunny (со́лнечный), no precipitation (без оса́дков), warm (тёплый), but not hot (не жа́ркий) weather (пого́да). In the central region of the European part of Russia, the beginning of “бабье лето” is in mid-September. In southern Siberia, warming often starts in late September – early October (октя́брь). In the Black Sea region, it is called “ба́рхатный сезо́н” (“Velvet Season“) and lasts for two months.

Fall In Russia

Image by Коля Саныч Flickr

In central Russia in October, there is a decided chill (хо́лод) in the air. The leaves и́стья) have already begun to change their color (цвет). During this wonderful time of leaf fall (листопа́д), you can see photographers (фото́графы) bending over a leaf (лист) in a puddle (лу́жа) or lying on the ground and taking pictures (фотографи́ровать) of kids for a family photo shoot (фотосе́ссия). In recent years, it has become popular to launch drones into the sky (не́бо) to capture all the beauty (красота́) of fall in nature (приро́да) on cameras (ка́меры). At the same time, the first snow (снег) has already started in the northern cities of the country. Snow, which rarely settles, remains wet and slushy, so sturdy waterproof boots and a raincoat are essential there. There are other folk traditions connected with autumn. The “Golden Autumn” (“Золота́я о́сень“) harvest festival (фестива́ль урожа́я) takes place throughout Russia.

Autumn in mountains

Image by author

November (ноя́брь) is the worst month of the entire year. Cold winds (ве́тры), rains (дожди́), and frosts (за́морозки) begin in Moscow, with the temperature of around -4 F. In Siberia, it can even drop below -58 F. South of Russia remains the warmest part of the country, with temperatures around 50 F. The first snowfall (снегопа́д) is coming soon. The Russians take out winter (зи́мние) jackets (ку́ртки), fur coats (шу́бы), boots (боти́нки), scarves (ша́рфы), and hats (ша́пки) from their closets, preparing for winter.

November In Russia, St Petersburg

Image by Polyrus Flickr

A muse for artists, poets, and musicians

The beginning of autumn is a beautiful time of year when nature puts on its most gorgeous fineries. The variety of colors amazes with its magic. That is why fall is so popular among creative people. Green (зелёный), orange (ора́нжевый), red (кра́сный), yellow (жёлтый), crimson (багря́ный), magenta (пурпу́рный), purple (фиоле́товый) landscapes against a bright blue (я́ркоси́ний) sky inspire artists (худо́жники), writers (писа́тели), and musicians (музыка́нты). For example, “Golden Autumn” by Isaac Levitan, painted in 1895, became a masterpiece.


Levitan Golden Autumn

Image by Art Gallery ErgsArt – by ErgSap Flickr

Many poets (поэ́ты) have devoted their works to fall. An excerpt from the poem “Autumn” by Alexander Pushkin is still included in the school literature curriculum.

Уны́лая пора́! Оче́й очарова́нье!
Прия́тна мне твоя́ проща́льная краса́ — 
Люблю́ я пы́шное приро́ды увяда́нье,
В багре́ц и в зо́лото оде́тые леса́,
В их се́нях ве́тра шум и све́жее дыха́нье,
И мглой волни́стою покры́ты небеса́,
И ре́дкий со́лнца луч, и пе́рвые моро́зы,
И отдалённые седо́й зимы́ угро́зы.
Осень” (отрывок), Александр Пушкин, 1833-

Oh, mournful season that delights the eyes,
Your farewell beauty captivates my spirit.
I love the pomp of Nature’s fading dyes,
 The forests, garmented in gold and purple,
The rush of noisy wind, and the pale skies
Half-hidden by the clouds in darkling billows,
And the rare sun-ray and the early frost,
And threats of grizzled Winter, heard and lost.

Autumn,” (a fragment) by Alexander Pushkin, 1833 (translated by Avrahm Yarmolinsky)-

Most famous singers have a lyric song about autumn. DDT, a popular Russian rock band, performed the song “What is autumn” (“Что́ тако́е о́сень”) in 1992. But even today, the younger generation knows it well.

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