I’ve not seen the full spectrum of public holidays in my time here, but it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and that’s all that matters. /blank stare
Catholic Christmas: 25th Dec’
Catholic Christmas (or UK Christmas or US Christmas, or whatever you want to call it) is celebrated in a small way here. History shows that this date was celebrated for a short time by the Russian people before it was reverted back to its original date 7th January.
There are decorations just as you would see at home… In fact, maybe more. Even buses are decorated from December through to January. Hey, and guess what… the speakers in the city centre play jingle bells too. All the time. Always. On repeat.
Merry Christmas! 🌟
New Year: 1st Jan’
Santa (Grandfather Frost if you’re Russian) doesn’t come on Christmas Eve. He appears on New Years Eve. Families have big parties for friends and more parts of the family. New Year is a far more family orientated event in Russia than it is at home and the kids stay awake until midnight to open their gifts from Ded Moroz.
And no, that doesn’t mean dead morons.
Ded Moroz is Grandfather Frost. Big G-Daddy Frost is always accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka. The mystery as to how he has a granddaughter is yet to be solved, as he has neither had a lady friend NOR a daughter/son for as long as he has existed.
Otherwise, New Year is celebrated much like it is in the UK, with much champagne and many fireworks.
С Новым годом! 🎉
Russian Orthodox Christmas: 7th Jan’
I think this is one of the many occasions that you could put yourself through an all night church service. Fortunately for me, I was on a train and I missed it. What a pity.
С Рождество́м! 🌟
Defender of the Fatherland Day: 23rd Feb’
A day to celebrate the men who fought for Russia in times gone by. It’s nice to buy your manly friends a present on this day.
Or, you know, if you have no male friends you can draw an eyeliner moustache on yourself and drink wine.
Do that if you haven’t got any friends at all, for that matter.
Maslenitsa: the eighth week before Pascha (Orthodox Easter)
The celebration of the arrival of spring. Or the driving away of winter and the awakening of spring, from its alarmingly long slumber, if you prefer.
For a week everyone eats pancakes (blinis), they put on song and dance performances and then they burn scarecrows. This is how spring SHOULD be celebrated.
Womens’ Day: 8th March
Womens’ Day is international and hardly needs explaining. However, here it is no joke. If you don’t receive tulips or chocolate or SOMETHING on Womens’ Day well then, I’m sorry to break it to you, you’re either a man or you’re dead. Every lady gets a Womens’ Day gift.
Pascha: (changes yearly but somewhere between Womens’ Day and Labour Day)
Pas-ha is the Russian Orthodox equivalent to Easter. Instead of giving and receiving chocolate eggs everyone makes Kulich; a bread type cake studded with fruit and raisins and topped with icing and sprinkles.
Painting egg shells is also fun for kids. Afterwards they knock their eggs together to see who has the strongest egg. Which I can only imagine gets incredibly messy – I sat this one out.
Pascha is another occasion to go and stand all night in a candle lit church, but why do that when you can lay in a candle lit room and listen to your next door neighbours TV.
OK, so it’s probably not the same – but give me a break.
Labour Day: 1st May
Not wholly exciting, but a day off work nonetheless.
Victory Day: 9th May
THE big event of the year after New Year. Victory Day parades are not to be missed. Moscow’s parade is shown on TV but the atmosphere is worth experiencing in person. Tyumen’s parade was much smaller but no less emotional.
We arrived early for a good spot to see the military march, and we stayed for at least fifteen minutes of the Immortal Regiment. The Immortal Regiment is made up of city civilians who march through the streets behind the military holding banners and pictures of their fallen family members.
С Днём Победы! 🇷🇺
My Birthday: 13th May
On your birthday it is customary to bring treats to your friends. So I bought a ton of cake and chocolate for my colleagues and students.
One of my classes threw me a surprise KFC party and presented me with possibly the greatest hoody I’ve ever owned. Check it out:
And that, my friends, is my two rubles worth on Russian Holibobs. Like and share to help a friend plan their visit over one of these fabulous occasions!