The Novgorod region in Russia has banned divorce applications on the 8th of July this year. The statement from officials came as Russia marks ‘Peter and Fevronia Day’, a day to celebrate family, love and faithfulness. It will only be marriages and newborns that will be registered in the region as part of a push to strengthen the values of vitality, hope and love. Marriages on this day are considered to be lucky with Saints Peter and Fevronia considered to be the Orthodox patrons of marriage.
On the day, baskets of daisies were placed around statues and churches. They have been considered a wild flower and the symbol of love since ancient times in Russia. Since the holiday began, only 12% of couples who have married on this day in Novgorod have ended their marriage in divorce. This accentuates the luckiness the day holds and more than 300 festive events will be held across the region with dances, flashmobs, bike rides and ‘ritual betrothals’ to celebrate family ties. Furthermore, couples who have been together for more than 25 years are being given medals for ‘love and faithfulness’ and those who raised between 4 and 7 children honoured for their parental duty.
While other regions in Russia also took part in the halting of divorces on the day, the Russian Orthodox Church hasn’t supported the idea. A spokesman said that “pressure and a refusal to change people’s marital status is not the best tool”.