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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands as he meets local residents in Sevastopol. Reuters

Today, 12 June, marks Russia Day, a day designated to celebrate the Russian Federation.

First celebrated in 1992, the idea of this holiday was born among the Russian democratic movement, following the signing of the declaration of Russia's state sovereignty on 12 June 1990.

The day, 12 June, became a public holiday in 1994.

To promote this day as a patriotic holiday, Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin suggested renaming it Russia Day in 1997 (the holiday's original name was the Day of Signing the Declaration of State Sovereignty).

The renaming took place in 2002 when the Russian Parliament adopted a new version of Russia's Labor Code.

How do people celebrate?

According to the School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS), Russia Day is a relatively new holiday, which means that "many are still at a loss as to how it should be celebrated".

In addition, many Russians do not considered it a holiday.

"In a recent poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation, only 20% of respondents said that it held greater meaning," SRAS said.

However, the holiday is beginning to find its traditions.

On this day, most public offices and schools are closed. If 12 June falls on a weekend, the public holiday shifts to the following Monday.

People attend concerts and firework shows in many cities throughout the country. Bands play popular Russian songs, including some from the Soviet era.

People wearing uniforms from the early 1800s in parades that take place in public squares.

Historical parades also feature uniforms dating from other periods of Russia's military glory, including during the reign of Peter the Great and Catherine II.

Prominent Russian writers, scientists and humanitarian workers receive 'Russian Medals' from the President Vladimir Putin.

Last year, the seven silver and gold medals and cash prizes of five million RUR ($180,000) went to scientists, artists, actors and musicians.

People choose to use Russia Day also to celebrate the history of their individual communities within Russia. Representatives from various regions show off the distinctive dress and dance styles, highlighting Russia's cultural and ethnic diversity.