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Major Holidays

New Year’s Day: January 1st

Major Holidays

Russian Orthodox Christmas: January 7th (The Orthodox Church still goes by the old calendar, which differs from the Gregorian by 13 days.)

Day of the Defender’s of the Fatherland (Army Day): February 23rd (Voted as a holiday by Russian lawmakers in 2002.)

International Women’s Day: March 8th (Established after the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen in 1910)

Orthodox Easter (Pas’kha): Falls in April or May

Labor Day or May Day: May 1st, 2nd (Even though no longer celebrated as International Workers’ Solidarity Day, it still retains a festive nature with parades on Moscow’s Red Square and St. Petersburg’s Palace Square. Much of the country shuts down for the first two weeks in May)

Victory Day: May 9th (Parades are held at war memorials, such as the Piskarovskoe Cemetery in St. Petersburg, to celebrate VE Day, the end of WWII in Europe.)

Russian Independence Day: June 12th

Day of National Accord and Reconciliation (formerly known as the Day of the Great October Revolution): November 7th

Constitution Day: December 12th

January 27th is the anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad in 1944.

The second week in March is Maslenitsa or Blini Day. This stems from an old Pagan tradition of making blini – pancakes (representing the sun) to honour the coming of spring.

During the summer months, some of the other celebratory holidays include: International Day for the Protection of Children – June 1st; Pushkin’s Birthday – June 6th; St. Petersburg White NIGHTS festival – starting from June 21st till July 11th; Day of Youth – June 27th; Police (GAI) Day – July 3rd; Day of Russia’s Military Glory – July 10th (in commemoration of the Poltava battle in 1709); Day of Russian Mail – second Sunday in July; Navy Day – last Sunday in July (in St. Petersburg the fleet usually parades along the Neva River); Day of Railway Troops – August 6th; Air Force Day – August 9th; Russian Flag Day – August 22nd.

In addition, the Siege of Leningrad Day (special ceremonies in St. Petersburg mark the end of the 900 – day siege during (WWII) falls on September 8th, and Moscow Day on September 19th.

Name Days: Many calendar dates have a corresponding name day. Russians love to celebrate their own name day.

Moscow and St. Petersburg have many other art, music, and sports festivals during the year. Every year in summer, Moscow hosts the Moscow International Film Festival. Every August, the Moscow International Marathon is run through the city.

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