Russian Holidays

The New Year’s holiday in Russia is special. It is far and away the most important holiday of the year, and accordingly many traditions are associated with its celebration. Many of these rituals are quite specific to Russia and differ from how other people around the world celebrate winter holidays.

Most of Russians are Orthodox Christians, and celebrate Christmas on January 7th (according to the Gregorian calendar). In Kievan Rus, Christmas became an official holiday after the baptism of Prince Vladimir in the late 10th century. However, considering that the Christian community existed in ancient Kiev even earlier, the celebration may date back further.

Valentine’s Day –- is a relatively new holiday in Russia. It is also called the “day of all in-love people” – ДЕНЬ ВСЕХ ВЛЮБЛЁННЫХ. Russians love holidays that include a lot of fun, so they borrowed the fun Valentine traditions from the West. Observed by very few people in the 90s, Valentine’s Day quickly gained its popularity among people of all ages. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular holidays in Russia.

Defender of the Fatherland Day is an official holiday in Russia celebrated on February 23. The holiday marks the date of the first mass draft into the Red Army in 1918 during the Russian Civil War. Defender of the Fatherland Day got its current name after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but previously it was known as Red Army Day and later Soviet Army and Navy Day.


Maslenitsa - Ма́сленица, also known as Butter Week or Crepe week, is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent—that is, the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox Easter. Maslenitsa has its origin in both pagan and Christian traditions.

Восьмого марта Россия празднует Международный женский день. В этот выходной день по всей стране чествуют женщин. Мужчины должны поздравить всех женщин в своей жизни: мам, тёщ, сестёр, жён, дочерей, коллег. День восьмого марта – это день, когда на улице можно увидеть множество мужчин, несущих цветы.  

First of April is All Fool’s Day. It is also called the day of laughter. On this day, it is common to play jokes on family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Learn some April Fool's Day vocabulary through pictures. 

Easter, also known as Paskha (Па́сха), is one of the most important Russian holidays. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter according to the Julian calendar ( по Юлиа́нскому календарю́). The celebration commemorates the resurrection of Jesus and shares fundamental similarities with the Western Christian celebration.

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Learn how to make holiday greetings, toasts, and invitations.

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