The whole year Russians have celebrations of all kinds. Lots of traditional holidays are based on religion or seasonal rituals. However, Russians have also modern holidays like Valentine's Day, the meaning of which coincides with the West one.
Here we’ll look to the main Russian celebrations; we’ll see how they prefer to celebrate them. There are numerous holidays in Russia, dating back to the village life. Russia has largely kept the good old traditions. At the same time appeared a lot of popular Western holidays, which are particularly fond by the younger generation.
The greatest Russia holiday, no doubt, is the New Year. For this event often prepare much earlier (days or even weeks before). All these arrangements do so that the New Year was as bright and merry as it’s possible! Russian people are very trust in the omen that as you meet the New Year - so it will be! That's why all the tables should be full of tasty and good food; besides, the table must surely be complete! Most often, this is a family holiday; but they also practice frequent trips to friends (in best clothes). In New Year's Eve Russians communicate with friends and family, eat, drink and just have fun until dawn.
The New Year Eve’s celebration most often holds in the family, when other relatives come. Youth go away to parties and friends usually after midnight, after a proper New Year is met. Once more interesting detail: in the New Year Russians are very fond all kinds of gifts. They like to get and give them to others, especially children. In Russia there is a Christmas fairy about visit of Ded Moroz (like our Santa Claus). He always comes not alone but in the company of his snow granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden). Just Snegurochka helps with gifts for children (adults love to play this fairy too).
Considering that Orthodoxy is the most common religion, the largest of Russian celebrations are based on the Orthodox calendar dates. The most revered holiday there – Easter, and its date in different years fall on different days. By the way, in the West this holiday regularly shifts in dates too, according to the lunar calendar.
Easter is celebrated in Russia with rich table and surely with painted or beautifully drawn eggs (krashenki), hard-boiled. The second largest religious holiday is Christmas. They celebrate it on January 7, two weeks after our Christmas. These holidays during the Soviet Alliance times were completely banned and began to return afterwards the collapse of Soviet power.
Pretty great holiday there is so called Valentine's Day, celebrated on February 14. On this day all lovers show to each other their sincere love, give "valentinki" (cards with words of appreciation). In addition, this festival is celebrated with friends; so it’s quite normal for a girl - getting a gift or card from friends (both sexes) and also her family’s members.
For Russian women the most enjoyable holiday, without a doubt, is the March 8, when they celebrate International Women's Day. This holiday is recognized by everybody in Russia. Since USSR times it is a public holiday and it has acquired a special meaning. Keep in mind that for Russian women (and men too) it means much more than some “Valentine's Day”. That date is also a special holiday for Russian men and boys: on that day they seek to demonstrate their genuine love for their wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers and grandmothers!
On this date Russian guys give gifts and flowers to girls, straightly at work. Members of family, wives and girlfriends have being congratulated more intimately. A very good idea on that day is to serve breakfast or coffee to bed! Exactly during the holiday be sure to visit friends and their families to invite them to a celebratory table. Very many Russian women (friends or colleagues) come together to celebrate March 8 without men (only in the women's team) and they call it "Devichnik" (hen party).
Russian government tries to encourage the revival of old, traditional celebrations so that to preserve them for the new generations of ancient traditions, including extensive folk cultural stratum. The famous festival “White Nights” means the summer culmination in Saint Petersburg. In this period the city wonders and enjoying round-the-clock light, when everything is seen 24 hours a day. Millions of tourists from many countries come to St. Petersburg for observing and celebrating such a fantastic sight!
Maslenitsa (i. e. Pancake Week) might be noted "traditional celebration of the spring beginning". On that week there’re lots of celebrations, taken from old-world rites. Medoviy Spas (i. e. "Honey Day") occurs on August 14. It’s the first feast among the 3 great ones, dedicated to harvest of all the crops, grown throughout the summer and till winter. The date purports also the successful nectar gathering - this means that from this date people might gather honey from the hives.
Traditionally, honey was brought to any fane for blessing: they put tables there (for the tasting). On that tables were jars with honey of various color shades and tastes. The second "fruitful celebration" is called Yablochniy Spas (which can be named as "Apple Day") - always in August (19th): till this period apples had ripened. After that they bring some apples to fane. Honey and apples on August 19 participate in different games and festivities. The final yield festival is Orekhoviy Spas (which can be explained like "Nutty Day"). They celebrate it exclusively on August 29, signifying ripening of nuts. This last harvest celebration closes the cycle: warehouses are full of harvest.
Feast day: every name at Russians owns its celebration day. Such tradition goes from antiquity, but today it’s supported in Russia much less than before. And yet, name-day is well aware in all countries, which were influenced by the Soviet Union. For instance, in Latvia this holiday exists even now. Everyday congratulations, relating to a specified name are common there. You can give a gift or just a cake on that day.
Another popular holiday - Tatiana's Day (celebrated on January, 25). Also, it is widely known as students’ high day (Student Day) and enjoys great popularity among all Russian students. Historically the holiday appeared in memory of St. Tatiana that resided at the very beginning of the 3rd century. She was brutally murdered by the Romans for the Orthodox faith.
The thing is that on January 25th, Saint Petersburg’s university was established (in 1755). Namely for this reason Tatiana became the students’ patroness. Namely then best students receive awards; in addition, at the same time start winter vacations in all institutions without exception. That’s why Tatiana's Day is extremely popular among Russian students.Return from Russian Holidays and Celebrations to homepage