Under the Soviets, 23 February was Fatherland Defender’s Day, a day on which military and other defenders, usually men, were honored. Somewhere along the line, it became known as Man’s Day—men being the typical defender in this overtly patriarchal culture—as a counterpart to Women’s Day, which is recognized on 8 March.
Yesterday, two freshmen I had as students last year gave me a Defender’s Day card. The dominant image was a bunch of red carnations with a sprinkling of gold glitter surrounded by gold stars. In the lower right corner of the card was an image of a battleship and behind the carnations was faded representation of a heraldic shield or coat of arms, probably related to the current Russian state.