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Russians love to celebrate! :)
Russians have adopted many western holidays such as St. Valentine's Day, Catholic Christmas, and Halloween. They also appreciate Chinese New Year, Muslim and Jewish Holidays. Here is the list of all the special dates that should be celebrated.
Be sure to remember of Name Days.
January 1 - New Year - The most cheerful holiday. The last week in December is quite festive, culminating with New Year's Eve. Presents are given on New Year's Day.
January 7 - Russian Orthodox Christmas - An official holiday celebrated by Russian Orthodox Church. (The Orthodox Church still follows the old calendar, which differs from the Gregorian by 13 days.) Churches throughout the country hold services.
January 13 - Old New Year - The difference between Julian (the old Russian) and Gregorian (European) calendars was 13 days, and after the Soviet government adopted Gregorian calendar Russians started to celebrate many holidays twice: according to the new style and the old one.
January 25 - Tatyana's Day. In Russia it's also a merry holiday of students. On this day in 1775 the Moscow University was founded. The opening of the University was timed to the name of Ivan Shuvalov's mother who was a famous favorite of the Empress of Russia Elisabeth. She was a patroness of Art and Culture. The students chose this day to glorify students' life - life of free spirit, energy and community (collective).
February 14 - Valentine's Day - Russians only started celebrating Valentine's Day 7-9 years ago and it has become very popular. So make sure your sweetheart doesn't get forgotten. :)
February 23 - Men's Day or The Day of Army - Men's Day or The Day of the Army - On this day all the masculine representatives from boys to old men receive congratulations and presents and the military men greet each other. Holiday tables are laid and there are toasts for the Army and for men. Women have a happy opportunity to say the warmest and the sweetest words to their lovers and to please them with sings of attention.
March 8 - Women's Day - On this day men give women gifts, usually flowers. Men also are supposed to do all the housework, whuch is pretty nice - at least once a year women can have some rest and forget about dishes, cooking, kids, and take a magazine and relax on the couch. Established after the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen in 1910.
First week in March - Maslenitsa or Blini Day - By the end of winter, a Pancake week comes right before Lent, it is also called a "cheese week". The Christian historians say that those were really "mad" days in the past. People wore funny masks and costumes and sometimes, men wore women's clothing and vice a versa. Such masquerades gave start to a merry festival, when nice food and a lot of wine was consumed. A big man of straw was burned as the final act of saying goodbye to the already passed winter. The feast fighting was one more great fun which helped to warm up cold winter days. Tsars and Grand Princes used to find a lot of fun in feast fighting. At present special performances are held on Pancake week. Through the whole week people cook pancakes served with honey, caviar, fresh cream and butter. In Russian Pancake week is called Maslenitsa, this word means "butter" in English. It means that many different foods, including butter, may be eaten before the time when Lent comes. On the whole, the pancake week may be segmented into three parts, i.e. meeting of Maslenitsa on Monday, broad Maslenitsa, or the peak of festive occasion, on Thursday, and the last day, the good-bye day, which comes on Sunday morning.
April 1 - "The Day of Laugh". People tell jokes to each other, newspapers and TV publish funny stories and jokes. The motto of this day: Do not trust anybody on 1 April ("Pervoye aprelya - nikomu ne veryu").
April 12 - Cosmonaut's Day.
End of April / Beginning of May - Easter - Like in all Christian countries the Easter Holiday is also celebrated in Russia. Special round-shaped sweet bread (Easter cakes) are cooked. On the Easter's Eve the Easter cakes are on sale in nearly all bakeries. Moreover, Pasha (rich mixture of sweetened curds, butter and raisins) is also prepared on Easter and eggs are painted in different bright colors. The red egg is considered a symbol of Easter. The Easter egg has many specific purposes, it is a traditional Easter present given to friends and relatives as an Easter salutation . There is a proverb that says once you wash your face in the water with the Easter egg in it, you will always be healthy and beautiful; the fire will die, if the Easter egg is thrown into it, etc. On Easter people usually visit their relatives. The traditional greeting, if translated from Russian, says: "Christ is alive", the answer is "Christ is truly alive...".
May 1 - The Day of Labor - During Soviet time there were huge demonstrations on this day, as everybody was obliged to show his loyalty to the state; now only communists organize meetings on this date.
May 9 - Victory Day (Over German Nazism in the WW2) - Russia celebrates Victory Day on May 9 to commemorate the millions fallen in World War II. Flowers and wreaths are laid on wartime graves on this day, and veterans come out into the streets wearing their military orders and medals. Alas, there are fewer of them with every passing year.
June 6 - Pushkin's Birthday - Poetry readings by Pushkin monuments.
June 12 - The Independence Day - It's an official holiday. Russians spend this day at their "dachas". Independence Day commemorates the adoption in 1991 of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation.
The last Sunday in July - Navy Day - In St Petersburg, the fleet, including ships, submarines and sailors, are displayed about the city.
August 22 - Day of the Russian Federation State Flag.
September 1 - The Day of Knowledge - It's the beginning of a school year. Children go to schools with flowers for teachers, there are meetings before the classes start - nice and exciting.
December 12 - Constitution Day
Russian Public Holidays
1-2 January New Years Day * (No work)
7 January Orthodox Christmas * (No work)
12 January Day of the Prosecutor General's Officials
13 January Day of Russian Press
21 January Day of the Military Engineers
15 February Day of Purification
8 March International Women's Day
7 April Annunciation
April Easter (Paskha)
1-2 May International Labor Day
9 May Victory Day (1945)
12 June Russian Independence Day
23 May Orthodox Ascension
2 June Day of the Holy Trinity
Last 10 Days of June St. Petersburg White Nights
19 August Transfiguration
28 August Dormition of the Blessed Virgin
21 September Nativity of the Virgin
7 October Constitution Day
14 October Feast of Pokrov
4 December Presentation of the Virgin