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Holidays & Events
in Russia



New Year's Day
January 1

The last week in December is quite festive, culminating with New Year's Eve. Presents are given on New Year's Day.


Russian Orthodox Christmas
January 7

A new official holiday celebrates Russian Orthodox Christmas. (The Orthodox Church still follows the old calendar, which differs from the Gregorian by 13 days.) Churches throughout the country hold services.






Women's Day
March 8

Established after the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen in 1910, women receive gills and usually do not have to work'. Even though socialism is out, celebrating women is still in!


Easter or Pashka
March/April

Traditional Russian Orthodox holiday






May Day
May 1

Even though no longer celebrated as International Workers' Solidarity Day, this event, now known as Labor and Spring Holiday, retains the festive nature, with colorful parades through Moscow's Red Square and St Petersburg's Palace Square.






Victory Day
May 9

Parades are held at war memorials such as the Piskaryovskoye Cemetery in St Petersburg to celebrate V-E Day at the end of World War II in Europe.


Maslenitsa, or Blini Day
1st week in March

This day stems from the Pagan tradition of making blini pancakes to honor the coming of spring; blini represent the sun. Each spring, there are festivals in the major cities and towns to celebrate the end of winter.






Navy Day
July

In St Petersburg, the fleet, including ships, submarines and sailors, is displayed about the city.






White Nights Festival
June 21 to July 11

While the sun hardly sets, many musical concerts, theatrical performances, street events, fireworks and other celebrations take place throughout Moscow, St Petersburg and the Golden Ring area.






Siege of Leningrad Day
September 8

This day marks the end of the 900-day seige of former Leningrad and includes special ceremonies at the Piskarovskoye Cemetery.






Moscow Day
Sept 19

A day for merry-making in the city.






Anniversary of the October Revolution November 7

A traditional holiday for nearly 75 years to commemorate the Anniversary of the October Revolution (on the old calendar, the revolution took place on Oct 25). No longer a state holiday, many Russians continue to celebrate not having to celebrate the 1917 Revolution anymore!






Russian Winter Festival
December 25-January 5

Events are held to celebrate the coming new year, especially in Moscow, St Petersburg, Novgorod, Vladimir and Suzdal, where troika rides, along with other traditional Russian folk customs, take place. Because the Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 21, 1991, Christmas week now offers another reason to celebrate a new beginning.


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