Russia’s holidays

Every culture is unique, and Russia is no exception. Its rich culture and the combination of different religions has lead to a plethora of public holidays and festivals, some of which would ordinarily not be associated with the country in the first place.

Maslenitsa

 

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Публикация от Nata👩‍👦 (@moderntalking_83)

The name of the holiday, Maslenitsa is derived from maslo, which means butter or oil in Russian. This is a traditional East Slavic holiday, with pagan roots, centered around backing an outrageous amount of crepes (blinis) accompanied with literally any filling (though mostly sour cream or caviar, or both), while bidding the cold winter farewell with a huge bonfire. After Christianity was adopted in Russia, it was timed to the beginning of the Lent, because people loved this celebration too much to just get rid of it. Try as the church did to get rid of the pagan festival, it only succeeded in reducing the number of days it’s celebrated, from 14 to 7 days..

 

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Публикация от Demar (@demar3111)

It’s celebrated to mark the end of winter. People usually make a scarecrow from straw or other affordable materials, which represent winter, and then burn it down. The scarecrow is called Maslenitsa too. Slavic mythology sees different natural phenomena as gods who perform their will, so Maslenitsa is certainly an image of some ancient pagan god. Most likely, it used to represent the god of fertility. In the past, people thought that if they kill it by burning, they will speed up the upcoming of spring.

 

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Публикация от Марина 🌲🏡🌲 (@marina_realty)

So what does this mean for those visiting Russia at that time? Well, bonfires in parks, the opportunity to try crepes in their various imaginable and unimaginable variations, and if you have friends in Russia, a chance to visit them to….that’s right…have more crepes.  Every city or village has a festive market where people can buy some crepes/pancakes and hot drinks to warm up, listen to music, dance and play different traditional games.

 

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Публикация от ИКРА КРАСНАЯ В НИЖНИЙ НОВГОРОД (@caviar_crawfish)

Please note that the period for the Maslenitsa festival varies each year, so make sure you check up on dates, before booking your stay to enjoy the festival.

 

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Публикация от Karina (@karinaa905)

Ivan Kupala’s Day

 

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Публикация от Гончар Анастасия (@nastya1prestige)

Ivana Kupala Day is another ancient Russian holiday that is celebrated on the 7th of July. . This celebration is dedicated to the solstice and takes place during the shortest night of the year. Many centuries ago, people used to make large fires and jump them over believing in the healing power of fire. The celebration lasted the whole night. People used sang and danced in a ring, collected flowers and made crowns from them. They also believed that all the evil spirits of nature didn’t have power over them that day, so they bathed in rivers and lakes at night without any fear.

 

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Публикация от Valentina Rakityanskaya (@valyarakityanochka)

Young girls liked to have their  fortunes told. For example, they could predict if their life will be happy or unhappy by putting their flower crowns in the waters of a river. If it floats without any perturbation, the year will be lucky for a girl. But if it drowns, somebody will die.

 

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Публикация от Фотограф в Полевском, Екб 📷 (@ivanova_alina_photo)

Nowadays, this day is mostly celebrated in villages and is not so common.

Old New Year

 

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Публикация от @melomoronka

Even the name of this holiday sounds strange. How can something be new and old at the same time?

This oxymoron appeared thanks to the combination of different calendars. According to the Julian calendar, which was used before the Gregorian calendar appeared, the New Year that the majority of European countries celebrate on the 31st of December, falls on the 13th of January.

 

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Публикация от Anastasia (@tragedienned)

The Julian calendar is still widely used in Christianity. For example, religious people prefer to celebrate New Year on the 13th of January, because of the Nativity Feast that only ends after Christmas.

 

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Публикация от Эльвира Емельянчикова (@elyamelnik)

On this night, Russians cook a delicious meal, just as they do on New Year, invite their friends over or go out with them.

 

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Публикация от Masha Goloveshkina (@mashagoloveshkina)

For example, many people like to go skating or skiing during the New Year holidays. While the New Year is more of a family celebration, Old New Year is less traditional.

 

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Публикация от Топ-топ 👣 блоггер (@upravlenikum)

 

Christmas

 

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Публикация от яна (@sinelyana)

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on the 7th of January because it follows  the Gregorian calendar (25th of December is 7th of January New Style).

 

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Публикация от Детские Праздники В Москве (@__familytime__)

This celebration is not considered as important as New Year by the majority of people. Nowadays, many Russians do not celebrate it at all. In the Soviet times, the country was officially atheist, so to avert people from celebrating a religious holiday, the government focused their attention more on the New Year, keeping the traditions of the Christmas tree and a wonderful abundant meal.

 

Day of the Defender of the Fatherland (originally known as Red Army Day)

 

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Публикация от ABCstudio✨ (@studioabc64)

This holiday is the Russian men’s answer to International Women’s Day, which by the way is also a public holiday in Russia. It’s not just a men’s day, but a holiday dedicated to all the men who served their country in one way or another. However, military service is obligatory in Russia for all men from the age of 18, so every boy is potentially a defender of Fatherland.

 

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Публикация от Кондитерская (@helenas_cookies)

This day people congratulate their male family members and friends or military officers (in case they are women) and give them symbolical gifts. It was introduced in 1922 after the First World War to make a tribute to all those who protected the country in difficult times; and this day remains very popular. It’s celebrated on the 23rd of February.

 

International Women’s Day

 

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Публикация от ЦВЕТЫ В АЛМАТЫ (@artflowers.almaty)

The Danes may have come up with this day, but the Russians took it to a whole new level. Russia is the only country in the world that has declared the 8th of March a public holiday to celebrate women.

 

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Публикация от Everyone has limits in life. (@r._efimova_125)

So if you are a woman living in Russia, get ready to receive gifts and flowers at work (organised officially by the HR department of course) and from the men in your family, sons, brothers, husbands and male friends included…..no one escapes paying homage to THE WOMAN on that day.

 

Tatiana’s day

 

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Публикация от Комплексная стоматология (@myovento1.ru)

Tatiana’s Day is celebrated on the 25th of January. It was first a religious holiday connected with the name of saint Tatiana of Rome but in 2005 it officially became a secular holiday as well. Tatiana is venerated to be a patron saint of all students and Moscow State University in particular.

This holiday is widely celebrated by students, especially because it’s usually the last day of winter session at universities. Students gather together, drink, sing and play the guitar.

Since Tatiana is a very common Russian female name, all girls whose name is Tatiana are congratulated too.

 

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Публикация от @tcnimkeva

Feast of Epiphany

 

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Публикация от Гид в Париже,экскурсии Веро (@verinique)

Orthodox Christians across Europe celebrate the feast of Epiphany with icy dips in freezing water. The traditional date for the feast is January 6. However, Eastern Churches following the Julian Calendar observe the Theophany feast on what for most countries is January 19 because of the 13-day difference today between that calendar and the generally used Gregorian calendar. Since Orthodox Christianity is observed by the Greeks, who generally have warm weather all year round and the Russians, what this means is that on January 19, in temperatures of — 10 to — 30 something, thousands of Russians take a dive in the icy waters, interestingly enough, without going into hypothermia afterwards.

 

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Публикация от Ingrida (@ingraidi)

 

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Публикация от Александр и Анжелика Егоровы (@lika_sanya)

So if you’re brave and looking for that next shot of adrenaline, feel free to visit Mother Russia sometime around the 19 of January and take part in this long standing tradition.

 

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