Public holidays in Russia

Public holidays in Russia

Below is the list of official public holidays recognized by the Russian government. On these days, government offices, embassies and some shops, are closed. If the date of observance falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be a day off in lieu of the holiday.

Official holidays

New Year (Новый Год "Novy God") and Christmas (Рождество "Rozhdestvo")

Since 1992 Christmas has been openly observed in Russia and now the New Year's celebration usually flows directly into the celebration of Russian Orthodox Christmas observed on January 7th.

Defender of the Fatherland Day (День защитника Отечества "Den zashchitnika Otechestva")

On 23 February, Russia honors those who are presently serving in the Armed Forces and those who have served in the past. During the era of the Soviet Union, it was called "Red Army Day" or the "Day of the Soviet Army and Navy" (celebrating the day of the first mass draft of the Red Army in Petrograd and Moscow or of the first combat action against the invading German forces).

It is tribute of respect to all the generations of Russian soldiers from the ancient times till nowadays to those who defended courageously the fatherland from invaders. On this day all the masculine representatives from young boys to old men receive congratulations and presents and the military men greet each other. Women have a happy opportunity to say the warmest and sweetest words to their lovers and to please them with sings of attention.

International Women's Day (Восьмое марта "Vos'moe Marta")

Every 8 March, the United Nations declares this day to celebrate women and the accomplishments they have made to society. Other than in the former Soviet republics, it is not celebrated much throughout the world. It is traditional on this holiday to present women with gifts and flowers to express appreciation for their work, love and devotion. It can be regarded as the equivalent of Mother's Day combined with some aspects of Valentine's Day.

Spring and Labor Day

In the former Soviet Union, 1 May was International Workers' Day and was celebrated with huge parades in cities like Moscow. Though the celebrations are low key nowadays, several groups march on that day to discuss the grievences the workers have. Several communist states (Cuba and North Korea) still hold this day as an official occasions with a military parade and columns of weapons and workers.

Victory Day (День Победы "Den Pobedy")

Every 9 May, Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany, while remembering those who fell in order to achieve it. 9 May was chosen, since in the night from 8th to 9th 1945 the German military surrendered to the Soviet Union and the Allies in Berlin (Karlshorst), for people in Russia this happened on the 9th (due to time zones). A military parade is held in Moscow to celebrate the day. This is by far one of the biggest Russian holidays, equivalent to e.g. New Year.

Russia Day (День России "Den Rossii")

Russia Day is a holiday of national unity celebrated on June 12. On this day, in 1990, Russian parliament formally declared its sovereignty. The holiday was officially established in 1994. Initially it was named "Day of the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation", on 1 February 2002 was officially renamed to "Russia Day" (in 1998 Boris Yeltsin offered this name socially). There exist some sources, that say the name of this holiday was "Russia Independence Day", but it never had such a name in official documents.

= Unity Day (День народного единства "Den Narodnovo Edinstva") =

November 4. Unity Day, first celebrated in 2005, commemorates the popular uprising led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky which ejected the Polish invaders from Moscow in November of 1612, and more generally the end of the Time of Troubles and foreign intervention in Russia. The event was marked by a public holiday which was held in Russia on October 22 (Old style) from 1649 till 1917. Its name alludes to the idea that all the classes of Russian society willingly united to preserve Russian statehood when its demise seemed inevitable, even though there was neither Tsar nor Patriarch to guide them. Most observers view this as an attempted replacement to counter Communist demonstrations on November 7 holiday, which marked the anniversary of the October Revolution. Recently a film "1612" was made to explain to the Russian audiences the history behind the new holiday. This National Unity Day is also known as the Consolidation Day, which people in Russia celebrate on November 3 - November 4. Consolidation Day and National Unity Day are the synonyms, as the holiday name may be translated in different ways, so it is a National holiday.

Regional public holidays

Muslim regions

* Kurban Bayram
* Uraza Bayram

Popular holidays which are not public holidays

* New Year according to Julian Calendar on January 13
* Tatiana Day on January 25
* Maslenitsa (a week before the Great Lent)
* Easter
* Cosmonautics Day on April 12
* Radio Day on May 7
* Ivan Kupala Day on July 7

External links

* [ - Russian national holidays]
* [ - Russian holidays traditions of gift-giving]
* [ - Russian holidays traditions to send gifts and flowers to Russia]
* [ Official days off for public holidays (updated yearly)]
* [ - Gift & flower delivery service offering flowers for all major holiday occasions delivered within Russia and CIS]

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