Russia celebrates 'Married Love' day

July 8, 2011 at 12:38 PM

MOSCOW, July 8 (UPI) -- Russia, which has a world-record divorce rate and low birth rate, celebrated its fourth annual Day of Married Love and Family Happiness Friday.

The holiday, first observed in 2008 and timed to coincide with the Russian Orthodox Christianity day celebrating the patron saint of married couples, was started as an alternative to Valentine's Day, RIA Novosti reported.

Statistics from the United Nations for 2010 revealed Russia had the world's highest divorce rate for that year.

The country's population has shrunk from 150 million in 1991 to less than 142 million, official statistics showed. Birth rates have been declining since the end of the Soviet era, RIA Novosti said.

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