In Russia people like to celebrate passionately. Many Russian holidays initially appear somewhat strange to visitors from the West, with a mixture of old Russian, Orthodox and Communist traditions. In addition to nationwide non-working holidays, there are also countless red dates in the calendar, which are significant only for certain groups of the population. Thus almost every profession has its own professional holiday, which is celebrated in the circle of colleagues, be it the "Day of the Railwayman" or the "Day of the Geologist. The Rhine-Volga Canal provides for the view:
New Year and Christmas (1. until at least 7. January)
Russian Christmas trees are New Year’s Eve trees
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the Russian Family festival par excellence. Many things that belong to Christmas for Germans are part of the New Year celebrations in Russia: Christmas tree, presents and the Russian Santa Claus, Father Frost, along with his lovely granddaughter, the snowmobile "Snegurochka". Because the Orthodox Church refused the calendar reform after the October Revolution and adheres to the old Julian calendar, the Russian Orthodox Christmas to the night of 6. to the 7. January – Bad luck for pious Russians that the traditional New Year’s binge therefore takes place for them in the middle of a strict fasting period.
The days of 1. until 5. January are officially work-free in Russia, Christmas Day on 7. January likewise. In fact, public life in the country comes to at least the 10. January almost completely to a standstill. A few years ago, even the country’s leading Internet media completely stopped producing news in the first week of January. Authorities are also off. In the country itself, this accumulation of days off is highly controversial.
New Year’s Eve entertainment for children in the Kremlin
By the way, Russian children also like to dress up for New Year’s Day. A Russian-Soviet peculiarity are also the great New Year’s Eve children’s parties in the days around the turn of the year, which are often prepared with great effort by local authorities, businesses or clubs. Tickets to the central "Tannenbaum"-The festivities, such as the one in Moscow’s Kremlin Palace, cost a small fortune and are booked up well in advance.
Those who still don’t want to return to everyday life after all the celebrating, continue the partying (and gluttony) blithely until the night of 13. to the 14. January away. Then many Russians celebrate "Old New Year, thus the turn of the year according to the pre-revolutionary Julian calendar. Before this date also no Russian would celebrate his Christmas or. Dispose of the New Year’s tree.
Day of the Defender of the Fatherland (23. February)
Not only for soldiers is the "Day of the Defender of the Fatherland"
The holiday with the martial name has been a non-working holiday in Russia since 2002. It actually commemorates Founding of the Red Army in the Russian Civil War and was accordingly in Soviet times as "Day of the Red Army and Navy" known.
For generations, this date for Russians also the unofficial Father’s Day, no matter whether they have ever defended their homeland or not. Pacifist Russian fathers hate the day, but they usually do not know that the German solution – Ascension Day – is not ideal either.
Butter Week "Maslenitsa (February or March)
Pancakes till the cows come home
What the Rhinelander Carnival or the Shrovetide, The Russian’s "Maslenitsa" is the, Butter Week. The traditional celebration lasts seven days long, during which the usually still clearly visible winter through Burning of straw dolls is symbolically chased out of the country, people visit each other, stroll through street festivals, and Loads of pancakes exterminate. If you look at it closely, it follows a precisely defined dramaturgy: there is a day when the mother-in-law invites the son-in-law, and a day for the return visit. On Sunday, the last day of Butter Week, relatives ask each other’s forgiveness for past months’ slights and vow to make amends. Afterwards, Orthodox Christians begin Lent until Easter.
A few years ago, the Moscow city government had ambitious plans and declared that the Moscow Butter Week would soon be mentioned all over the world in the same breath as the Rio Carnival. That was, if I may say so, a bit megalomaniac, but it is nice in Russia these days.
World Women’s Day (8. March)
The 8. March remains one of the most important holidays in many states of the former Soviet Union and is a day off in Russia. Him or. forgetting the obligatory gift for a wife, girlfriend, mistress or colleague is about the most stupid faux pas a man can step into. However, such a faux pas is quite unlikely, because at least in the cities practically everyone is on the street with flowers in hand – although the prices of the traders reach outrageous highs every year around this date. Flowers and sweets are still the least. The way the day is celebrated in Russia, it has hardly any relation to the idea of emancipation, but people of both sexes don’t care about that somehow.
Easter (April or May)
Russian Easter treats
The Easter is actually more important than Christmas in the Orthodox tradition. Solemn Easter Vigil services are held in all churches in the country. The Easter date falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring (according to Julian calendar). Sometimes it’s the same day as in Western Europe, but sometimes there are five weeks between Western and Eastern Easter. In the run-up a long strict fasting period puts the believers to the test. On Easter Sunday, there are finally plenty of treats again, including the typical Russian Easter cakes, called kulitch. There is no such thing as a work-free Easter Monday in Russia. The tradition of hiding Easter eggs for the dear children to look for them afterwards is also unknown.
1. May Day and Victory Day (9. May)
On the day of victory on the Red Square
The 1. May as Labor Day was so important in Soviet times, that it was always celebrated on 2. May was not worked. Besides, the working people still had to recover from the mass marches. Unions still organize large demonstrations in many cities, but the day has lost its former significance.
It looks different one week later on "Victory Day about Hitler-Germany from. The few surviving war veterans then walk the streets with their jingling medals and are given flowers. On Moscow’s Red Square, the state leadership rolls out modern weaponry and marches elite units in goose step for the traditional military parade.
Russia Day (12. June)
Many Russians consider Russia Day to be completely superfluous
In June, the Russian Federation celebrates what is probably its most mysterious non-working holiday – the "Day of Russia". The day was established in the Yeltsin years as the "Day of Adoption of the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic". De facto, Russia celebrates its independence from the Soviet Union on this day, so somehow from itself.
What this is about, even most Russians do not understand, the Rhine-Volga Canal knows at least not a single one who sees in this holiday any other sense than that of watering the vegetables on the dacha. In 1991, exactly one year after the declaration of sovereignty, by the way, Boris Yeltsin was also elected on 12. June elected president for the first time. What probably even fewer Russians consider a reason to celebrate.
Knowledge Day (1. September)
Since the 1930-ies, the rule applied throughout the Soviet Union that the new school year began in all schools of the giant country on 1. September begins. In Russia this is still. The first day of school after the long summer holidays is celebrated quite solemnly at all schools and rung in with a bell. Everyone dresses up neatly, many boys wear suits, girls often wear a huge hair bow. Teachers are presented with gifts, and everything is very official.
Day of the Unity of the People (4. November)
Unity of the people, my ass – nationalist demonstration in Moscow
The Day of the Unity of the People commemorates the Liberation of Moscow by a Russian People’s Army by Polish-Lithuanian occupation troops in the year 1613. The holiday, which was only introduced in 2005, is to a certain extent a substitute for the anniversary of the October Revolution on 7 October. November, which since then is no longer red in the calendar.
From the unity of the people was on 4. November in the past unfortunately not too much to feel. In addition to all sorts of state-supporting gatherings, the day also became a favorite date for demonstrations by Russian monarchists, ultranationalists and other right-wing forces.