New Year holidays
In addition to New Year’s Day (Новый год Novy god), 1 January, 2 January and 5 January are also public holidays, called New Year’s Day (Новогодние каникулы Novogodniye kanikuly). This holiday covers 6 and 8 January, with 7 January declared a public holiday by law. Until 2005, only 1 and 2 January were public holidays.
Christmas in Russia (Рождество Христово Rozhdestvo Khristovo) is celebrated on 7 January as a holiday according to the Julian calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church. The holiday was reintroduced in 1991, after decades of suppression of state religion and atheism in the Soviet Union. Christmas is celebrated in Russia on 25 December by the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant churches, but is not a public holiday. Although it is not a public holiday, it is a popular holiday.
Day of the Defence of the Fatherland
Fatherland Defender’s Day (День защитника Отечества Den zashchitnika Otechestva) is celebrated on 23 February and is dedicated to veterans and members of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, although colloquially it is often referred to as Men’s Day (День Мужчин, Den’ Muzhchin) and is generally treated as a celebration of all men. This festival was established in 1918.
International Women’s Day
On the eve of the First World War, Russian women celebrated the first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913, after discussions, International Women’s Day was moved to 8 March and has remained International Women’s Day ever since.
National Flag Day
National Flag Day is an official holiday in Russia, introduced in 1994. It is celebrated on 22 August, the day of the victory over the putschists in 1991, but is not a public holiday.
Spring and Labour Day
In the former Soviet Union, May Day was International Workers’ Day and was celebrated with large parades in cities like Moscow. Although the celebrations are now very low-key, several groups march on this day to protest against workers’ grievances.
On 9 May, Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany and at the same time commemorates those who died for this victory. On 9 May 1945 (Moscow time), the German army surrenders to the Soviet Union and the Allies of World War II in Berlin (Karlshorst). Victory Day (День Победы Den Pobedy) is by far one of the biggest celebrations in Russia. It commemorates the fallen of World War II and pays tribute to survivors and veterans. Flowers and wreaths are laid at war graves, and special parties and concerts are held for veterans. In the evening there are fireworks. A large military land and air parade, organised by the President of the Russian Federation, is held annually in Moscow on Red Square. Similar land, air and sea parades are also organised (when possible) in some other Russian cities (which are cities of heroes or have mainly military districts or fleet headquarters).
Russia Day (День России Den Rossii) is the bank holidays celebrated on 12 June. On this day in 1990, the Russian parliament officially declared Russia’s sovereignty over the Soviet Union (unlike all other former Soviet republics that declared full state independence, Russia’s independence was less radical, and the coexistence of Russian and Soviet state power had its place until the end of 1991). The festival was officially founded in 1992. Originally called Day of the Adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation, it was officially renamed Russia Day on 1 February 2002 (Boris Yeltsin gave it this name in 1998). There is a misunderstanding in Russian society that this holiday is also called Russian Independence Day, but it has never had this name in official documents. According to the survey conducted by the Levada Centre in May 2009, 44% of respondents named this holiday as Russian Independence Day.
Unity Day (День народного единства Den narodnogo edinstva) was first celebrated on 4 November 2005. It commemorates the popular uprising led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitri Posharsky that drove the Polish invaders out of Moscow in November 1612, and more generally the end of the period of unrest and foreign intervention in Russia. The event was marked by a holiday that took place in Russia on 22 October (old style) from 1649 to 1917. Its name alludes to the idea that all classes of Russian society voluntarily joined together to preserve the Russian state when its demise seemed inevitable, even though there was no Tsar or Patriarch to lead them. Most observers see this as an attempt to replace the communist demonstrations on 7 November, the anniversary of the October Revolution. National Unity Day is also known as Consolidation Day (as an alternative translation), which is celebrated in Russia on 3 and 4 November.
Holidays and commemorative days
|Attorney General Day – 12 January|
Homage to the founding of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office in 1772
|Tatiana’s day (Татьянин день) – 25 January|
|International Soldiers’ Memorial Day – 15 February|
Tribute to all those who served in Afghanistan during the Soviet war of 1979-1989 and assisted the Warsaw Pact forces during the Cold War
|Cultural Day (День работника культуры России) – 25 March|
Honouring the actors in the cultural field
|Local Self-Government Day (День местного самоуправления) – 21 april|
|Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Radiation Accidents and Disasters – 26 april|
Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster 1986
|Day of Russian Parliamentarism (День российского парламентаризма) – 27 april|
Commemorates the first session of the very first Russian State Duma in 1906
|Victory Day (День Победы) – 9 May|
Tribute to all who served in the Second World War (1941-1945 The Great Patriotic War)
|Russian Language Day – 6 June|
Before 2011 Pushkin Day was in honour of Alexander Pushkin, now it honours the Russian language
|Social Workers’ Day – 8 June|
Adopted in 2000
|Russia Day (День России) – 12 June|
Declaration of the Sovereignty of the Russian Federation over the USSR
|Marine day ( День Военно-Морского Флота ) – Last Sunday in July|
Tribute to active and reserve members, heroes and veterans of the Russian Navy
|Railwaymen’s Day (День железнодорожника) – 1st Sunday in August|
Celebration of the achievements of the railway sector
|Day of the Russian Railway Troops – 6 August|
Tribute to all active and reserve members, heroes, dead and veterans of the Russian railway troops.
|Sports Day (День физкультурника) – 2nd Saturday in August|
Celebration to honour the achievements of the nation’s athletes, coaches, judges, sports officials and youth and disabled athletes.
|Russian Air Force Day – 12 August|
Tribute to active and reserve members, heroes and veterans of the Russian Air Force
|Cinema and Film Day (День российского кино) – 27 August|
Honouring those involved in one of the oldest national film industries in the world
|Labour Day in the mechanical engineering sector (День машиностроителей) – 29 September|
|International Day of Older People – Russian Land Forces Day – 1 October|
Honours the elderly and all who care for their health,
In celebration of all those who serve, the heroes, the dead and the veterans of the Russian land forces on the day of the formation of the first units of the legendary Streltsy by Ivan the Terrible in 1550.
|Russian Aerospace Defence Forces Day (День космических войск) – 4 October|
The anniversary of the Sputnik launch in 1957, which paved the way for the space age.
|Labour Day in the advertising industry (День работников рекламы) – 23 October|
Professional leave, promulgated in 1994
|Armed Forces Special Forces Day – 24 October|
Memorial proclaimed in 2006 to commemorate the formation of the first Spetsnaz companies in 1950
|Customs Officers’ Day (День таможенника) – 25 October|
|MVD Security Services Day (День вневедомственной охраны) – 29 October|
Promulgated by government decree in 1952.
|Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Political Representation – 30 October|
Adopted in 1991, it honours the victims of the political oppression of the imperial and Soviet eras.
|Prisons and Prison Workers Day (День работников СИЗО и тюрем) – 31 October|
Adopted in 2006
|Police and Internal Affairs Day – 10 November|
Honouring all those who serve in the Police of Russia and all those who work in the Ministry of Interior (Russia)
|Rocket and Artillery Day – 18 November|
Declared on 21 October 1944, to commemorate the artillery strikes and bombardments of the Battle of Stalingrad on 19 November 1942.
|Marine Infantry Day (День морской пехоты) – 27 November|
In honour of the date 1705, when the first units of today’s Russian naval infantry were raised on the orders of Peter the Great.
|Day of the Heroes of the Fatherland (День Героев Отечества) – 9 December|
Anniversary of the founding of the Order of St George in 1769 (OS date: 26 November) by Catherine the Great.
|Strategic Missile Forces Day – 17 December|
Issued in 1995 to commemorate the establishment of the Strategic Missile Forces on 17 December 1959.
Popular holidays that are not Official holidays
- The New Year according to the Julian calendar on 14 January
- Anniversary of the death of Vladimir Lenin and Bloody Sunday on 21 and 22 January
- Tatiana Day (Student Day) on 25 January
- Valentine’s Day on 14 February
- Maslenitsa (one week before Great Lent) The start date changes every year, depending on the beginning of Great Lent.
- Internal Troops and National Guard Soldiers Day on 27 March
- Easter Every year is calculated according to a lunisolar calendar.
- Announcement 7 April
- Cosmonautics Day on 12 April
- Soviet Air Defence Forces Day on the second Sunday in April
- Russian State Fire Brigade Day on 30 April
- Radio Day on 7 May
- Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius on 24 May (also Day of Slavic Literature and Culture)
- Border Guard Day on 28 May, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation
- Ivan Kupala Day on 7 July
- Day of the Paratrooper on 2 August
- Apple Salvation Day on 19 August (also the great feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus).
- Great Feast of the Dormition of the Blessed Mother on 28 August
- Enlightenment Day on 1 September
- Tanker Day on the second Sunday in September
- 7 November, the day of the October Revolution.
- Marine Infantry Day on 27 November
- Emergency Situations Day on 27 December, celebrating the staff of the Ministry of Emergency Situations on the occasion of the anniversary of its establishment in 1990.