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August 19, 2010

Russia's Apple Feast Day

Russia’s Traffic Police Issue Apples Instead of Fines

19 August, 2010

As Orthodox Christians mark the Holy Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, also known in the country as the Apple Savior, policemen in Rostov-on-Don gave up their fining appetites and joined in the tasty celebration.

Stopped by the traffic police right in the city center, careless drivers at first thought they lost their minds when normally harsh officers smiled to them and – instead of the usual fines – issued fresh apples and codes of conduct.

The answer to the puzzle turned out to be quite simple: on August 19, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates one of its main holidays: the Holy Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, or the Apple Savior.

On this day, traditionally associated with harvest, people come to church to sanctify apples, pears, plums and other fruits. As part of the celebration, apples and honey are presented to neighbors and brought to orphanages and hospitals. The old tradition symbolizes generosity and fruitfulness, glorifying the unity of the God and mankind.

Eager to participate in the nation’s beloved holiday, the police in Rostov-on-Don, inspired by the local eparchy, have come up with the unusual flash mob.

“This is a perfect occasion to remind people how important road safety is,” the head of the local police was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency. “Besides, apples symbolize a healthy way of life.”