Надежда Александровна Власова

Имя: Надежда
Анкета преподавателя: Nadezhda Vlasova
Надежда Александровна Власова -> Learn Russian words / Учим русские слова
Today we will talk about the thing that many people associate with Russia - about felt boots. In Russian they are called валенки.
Валенки are very warm boots made from felt.
Traditionally, they are black, gray or white. Modern валенки can be green, yellow, violet and so on.

These are traditional валенки. I used to wear them, when I was a kid.

These are modern валенки.
Валенки are really warm. If winters are long, snowfalls are heavy and there is no slush, these felt boots will be your best friend. In order to use them longer, people usually sew a leather sole or glue a rubber one or wear валенки with galoshes. If you wear the felt boots carefully, they will serve you up to 10 years.

Валенки with a rubber sole.

Валенки with galoshes. Yes, I had a pair of such felt boot when I was a little girl! They were really warm!

Many people think that валенки are a traditional Russian winter boots (also as Matryoshka is Russian traditional toy). However, the history of валенки, as the history of matryoshka, is not so simple.
In fact, валенки are known to many nations of Eurasia for over 1500 years. For example, a kind of валенки, felt shoes, were found in the Altai Mountains, in ancient tombs.
When валенки came to Russia?
Scientists believe that it happened in the Middle Ages. The Mongols, who, like Russians, know well what long snowy winters are, wore shoes similar to felt boots and called it "pimas".
However, валенки became popular only at the end of the XVIII century. Why? Because in the very beginning  they were very expensive and considered to be a luxury boots. Not every citizen could afford to bye валенки.
Up to the beginning of the XIX century валенки were made manually. And this is a very time consuming process.
You must first prepare the wool: clean and knead until it becomes soft. After which the material was placed in a hot salt solution for a while, and then put on the shape of shoe and knocked down to size. A special feature of high-quality валенки is seamless. Boots are a monolithic, and only for greater durability a rubber sole can be attached.
Industrial production of валенки started only at the end of the XVIII century. It happened in the town of Myshkin (Yaroslavl region). Now there is a Museum of felt boots. (There are also museums in Moscow and Kineshma, Ivanovo region). Since then, валенки became popular in Russia. Across the country, workshops opened specializing in the manufacture of валенки, and there were factories for their production in cities.

Modern felt boots production factory.

Workman in felt boots.

The officers of the Red Army in felt boots.
Despite the fact that now валенки are produced industrially, there are craftsmen who continue to make them manually. Production of boots is really an art. Its secrets are passed down from generation to generation.

Such валенки you can buy as a souvenir.
Now валенки are not so popular. In Russia, parents often buy them for children, as валенки are very warm and made from natural materials.
Here are some interesting facts about валенки:
1. The biggest felt boots, which are included in the Russian Book of Records, were made in Kineshma by Sokolovs family . Their height is 168 cm and 110 cm is the length of the foot.
2. The smalliest felt boots with the size of the feet of 6 mm were produced by Valery Sokolov, a resident of Kineshma. These felt boots are included in the Russian Book of Records.
3. There are camel felt boots. They are more fluffy than the usual ones.
4. Valenok in conversational Russian is simple, rude man, a man who wants nothing to do in order to change something.

Listen to the famous song "Валенки" by Nina Ruslanova. Here are the words:
Oh валенки, валенки
Oh, not hemmed, the old ones.
You can not wear валенки,
You can not go to your love.
Oh валенки, валенки
Oh, not hemmed, the old ones.
Oh you, Nick - Nick, Nicholas,
Stay at home, do not walk.
Do not go to the end of the village,
Oh, do not give rings to young girls.
You`d better hem your валенки,
Then give presents to young girls.
Judge me people, judge me God,
How I loved:
Barefoot in the cold
Went to my love.
Oh валенки, валенки
Oh, not hemmed, the old ones.
In Russian:
Валенки да валенки,
Ой, да не подшиты, стареньки.
Нельзя валенки носить,
Не в чем к миленькой ходить.

Валенки, валенки,
Эх, не подшиты, стареньки.

Ой ты, Коля — Коля-Николай,
Сиди дома, не гуляй.
Не ходи на тот конец,
Ох, не носи девкам колец.


Чем подарочки носить,
Лучше валенки подшить.


Суди люди, суди Бог,
Как же я любила:
По морозу босиком
К милому ходила.

Валенки, валенки,
Эх, не подшиты, стареньки.

Перевод (ru-en)
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