Originally known as Red Army Day, marking the creation of the Red (Soviet) Army in 1918, the holiday endured several name changes. The last one was in 2002 when it officially became a public holiday. Although the celebration has an obviously military origin, it’s more often referred to as the Men’s Day and is considered to be the male equivalent of International Women’s Day (March 8).
Since the holiday is a way of paying tribute to soldiers and war veterans, the large, exuberant public celebrations are mostly military-centric. Parades, parties, sporting events and concerts abound throughout Russia, while the president, in a company of military officials, attends a wreath laying ceremony beside the Kremlin.