January 25th – Tatiana’s Day in Russia

January 25th, 2014 by Tatiana

January 25th is a special day for me because it’s Tatiana’s Day in Russia, which is also known as Students Day. It’s not a public holiday but its a good excuse for Tatiana’s to celebrate their own holiday and for students to have fun.

Why Tatiana’s Day is also Student’s Day?

Russia’s first minister of education, Ivan Shuvalov asked Empress Elizabeth to create a university. On January 25th in 1755, Empress Elizabeth founded Moscow University, Russia’s first University. She created the holiday on January 25th, the name day of  Shuvalov’s mother, whose name was Tatiana. The day coincided with the memorial day of the Holy Martyr Tatiana (Tatyana), who became the patroness of all Russian students. It has become a tradition for every Russian student to consider the Moscow University’s foundation day as Students Day. Today, Moscow State University, or “MGU” is the largest University in Russia.msu1



Source: http://en.ria.ru/infographics/20120125/170948133.html

You may ask why I am celebrating Tatiana’s Day when many know me as Tanya.  Because it’s the same name!! In Russia many names have two forms: a longer, more formal one and a shorter, informal one. Tatiana is a longer and more official version of Tanya, Natalia of Natasha, just like Alexander is also known as Sasha, Irina is Ira and Vladimir is Vova. It is a bit like Dave and David, Rob and Robert, Stu and Stuart in English. However, in Russia it is more of a formality for friends to use a shorter form of the name, whilst in England its more through personal preference and choice.

So, how can you call me?

In all the official documents my name is written as Tatiana. The majority of people start knowing me as Tatiana. In Russia when people see my name as Tatiana, they will all know that I am Tanya. However, out of respect, the majority will start calling me Tatiana and it is up to me to tell them that they can call me Tanya, as it’s more relaxed form of the same name.

Very often in all other countries I have to explain to people about these two forms of the name. People of my age, all of my friends and those who know me well call me Tanya. It is a bit weird for my ear to be called Tatiana by those close to me as it’s sounds too official.

“Tatiana is also Tanya”?, a confused frenchman once asked me. He saw my official documents first and understood that I was Tatiana. In polite email discussions before he even met me, he called me Tatiana and I was comfortable with it as I didn’t know him and conversations were formal.  However, when I saw him in person and saw he was a young guy with whom I would be working closely, I immediately told him to call me Tanya.

I prefer to be Tatiana for all those who don’t know me. If I want them to call me Tanya, I will tell them. Now, almost everybody calls me Tanya. Even if my email and business card say Tatiana – it’s more formal and serious. If one day, imagine, I end up writing a book or becoming a director of a big company, I will choose to be known to everybody as Tatiana as it’s more formal.  In this blog I chose Tatiana as it will also be read by people who don’t know me and I prefer that they know me as Tatiana.

I hope I managed to explain it well. I could go even further and confuse you even more when I say that my name has many more variations.

Tanechka, Tanushka, Tanusha, Tata, Tatulya, Tanura, Tanurik, Tanurka – more intimate ‘cute’ versions of my name, used by close family members, very close friends and loved ones, to address me  with care and tenderness.

Tan’ka or Tanuha – are kind of derogatory versions, but in some contexts these forms are not offensive. To be safe, better not use it :)


Some people say Tatiana is a Russian name. When I spoke to some Italians, they told me that there are many Tatianas in Italy, and Brazilians told me it’s one of their most popular names! Tatiana is of a greek origin and means “organised”. Not sure, I can really be described like that.

I found a great description of Tatianas as women and I am quite surprised  how true to me it is.

Tatiana are “open, friendly and communicative ladies who are very likeable and possess considerable faculties of self-expression. Good-humoured and cheerful, they are emotional beings first and foremost and they need other people in order to feel that they truly exist. Of extreme sensitivity, they can experience intense emotional arousal. They have a habit of sticking their nose into other people´s business – either to get the upper hand in a situation, or simply through an altruistic desire to help; they are quite intuitive and adapt easily to any new situation. They believe in luck, and this endows them with considerable confidence in themselves and their guardian angel! They are not always terribly inclined to effort, rigor or patience and can often be rather eccentric, or bohemian”

“They may choose to continue their education after graduation and are likely to be interested by anything to do with the human being (the medical, legal or social fields…), contact with the public will be a very important factor and could lead them to a career in marketing or occupations where they could exploit their talent for expression (interpretation). ” -http://www.first-names-meanings.com/names/name-TATIANA.html

Couldn’t be more true!

Leave a Reply