The Last Bell (we mean the bell that informs the pupils about the beginning or the ending of the lessons) is the traditional feast of the Russian pupils who leave the school. The Last School Bell feast occurs in the end of May, when the school year has already finished, but the final examinations have not begun yet.  

For some reason, the modern girls who finish the school in Russia, have established the tradition to put on the Soviet school uniform on this day (the Russian law makes no obligatory wearing of the school uniform today): a short black or brown dress with a white pinafore and a band “The school-leaver of the year …” that is put on over the shoulder. Unlike many countries all over the world, the Soviet school uniform was of single state design and it was the same for all Soviet schools. The girls were allowed to change the length of the dress, the style of the pinafore and the color of the band in the hair while the boys could choose the color of the shirt and tie.

The school-leavers of Moscow usually gather this day in the Manezhnaya square, Poklonnaya Gora and in the other places, make merry, drink alcohol, frolic and bath in the fountain (the other strange post-Soviet tradition: no one could ever bath in the fountains at the Soviet times because it was forbidden by the police). Today everyone can bath in the fountain: the school-leavers on the Last School Bell Day, the demobilized border guards and the paratroopers during the celebration of their legal holiday, etc. We can hardly explain the roots of this tradition.

As a rule, if the weather is fine, the school-leavers celebrate the Last School Bell Day right up to the very morning, then they go home, make up for the lost sleep and begin to prepare for the final examinations.

02 Jun 2011 13:39:00