Most Important Russian Holidays

1. December 31 - January 1. New Year

The New Year celebration can be considered as the main holiday among Russian people, because there is one week of official days off. A few weeks before the celebration there is a "New Year's bustle" (Предновогодняя суета), during this time Russians get very busy buying presents for relatives and food for the feast table. Most Russian young people like to go out and celebrate the new year night with their friends. At midnight, a lot of people prefer to visit the Red Square or some viewpoints to see the magnificent fireworks in the night sky over the Russian capital.

2. January 7. Orthodox Christmas

The main holiday for all Russian religious people comes after The New Year celebration.  At midnight on January 7th, Russian Orthodox churches perform The Divine Liturgy. This is the best time to visit Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Traditionally, this is a family celebration which is usually spent at home.

Some facts: The Orthodox Christmas celebration was banned by Soviet government in 1929 because of the official state policy of atheism. This tradition was restored only in 1991.

3. February 23. Defender of The Fatherland

"Defender of The Fatherland" is the celebration which has its origin back in 1919, at the rising of the Soviet Union, when they created the Red Army. At this time it was called "Red Army Day" (День Красной Армии). After the collapse of USSR, the celebration was renamed. Nowadays it is an official holiday during which women usually congratulate and give presents to men as they are considered the defernders of the country.

4. March 8. International Woman's day

February 1917. Russian Tzar Nicholas II tried to stop revolution by granting women the right to vote. It was the starting point in the struggle of women for their rights.

Nowdays it has become a celebration when men congratulate mothers and wives by giving them flowers and small gifts.

5. April (date varies). Easter

This is a Christian holiday dedicated to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter ("Пасха" in Russian) is the most beloved holiday for Russian Orthodox, but not only for religious people. For this celebration you will be able to try a delicious Easter cake named Kulich (Кулич). Some people cook it, but you can also find it in any supermarket, store or church on the celebration days. It's a traditional sweet Russian bread with raisins and glaze on the top.

6. May 1. Labor Day

Back in Soviet Union this holiday was devoted to the struggle of workers' rights. At this time the celebration was called "The Day of International Solidarity of Workers" (День международной солидарности трудящихся). Since 1992, the holiday was renamed to "Spring and Labour Day" (Праздник весны и труда). For odrinary Russians it' is just a holiday that means the first day of Spring.

7. May 9. Victory Day

For Russian people, this holiday is the most important celebration after New Year. It is dedicated to Victory in WWII 1941-1945. On this day people congratulate veterans and say thank you for their heroism.

On May 9th there is a traditional military parade on the Red Square.

Some facts: In Russia WWII is called "Great Patriotic War", because this war affected every Soviet family. In WWII, the Soviet Union lost 26 million people.

8. June 12. Russia Day

"Russia Day" is one of youngest holidays in modern Russia. The full name is "Day of adoption of the declaration of state sovereignty". The date started to be a holiday only since June 12th 1992 , when the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Russia was adopted effectively as the independence from the USSR.

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