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Russians love to celebrate, and Russia's public holidays
should not be treated lightly.
For the most important holidays New Year's, Christmas,
and the May holidays many shops close down completely
and city streets become strangely quiet. All government offices
are closed on public holidays, and most overseas embassies
Here are the official public holidays in Russia:
|1, 2 and 7 January
|| New Year and Orthodox Christmas
|| Womens' Day
|1, 2 May
|| May Day
|| Victory Day
|| Independence Day
|| Peace and Harmony Day (former October Revolution Day)
|| Constitution Day
1, 2 January - New Year
The first holiday of the year is New Year's Day. People see
the New Year in at midnight on the 31st of December. They
greet the New Year with champagne and listen to the Kremlin
chimes beating 12 o'clock.
There are many New Year traditions in Russia. In every home
there is a New Year tree glittering with colored lights and
decorations. Children always wait for Father Frost to come
and give them a present.
7 January - Orthodox Christmas
Peter the Great, an outstanding Russian monarch, introduced
many changes to the life of Russia and the Russian calendar.
For example, Christmas, while remaining one of the main Christian
holidays in Russia, is celebrated on the 7th of January, in
compliance with the Russian calendar, but not on the 25th
8 March - International Women's Day
Despite the word "International", it seems that
this holiday is only celebrated in Russia and former Soviet
The 8th of March is a national holiday and a day off. Several
nations celebrate this, but only a few acknowledge it as an
official, non-working holiday. The 8th of March is one of
the favorite holidays for most Russian women and along with
New Year and Christmas and St.Valentine's Day, it is also
one of the most romantic holidays.
1, 2 May - May Day
It was a major holiday in the Soviet Union and other Communist
countries, and also in many other parts of the world. Even
in today's Russia, it is an annual holiday devoted to the
recognition of working people's contribution to society. A
unique display of the most modern weapons and seemingly endless
troops of soldiers is held in Moscow, the capital of Russia
on this day.
May day, until recently officially termed International Workers'
Solidarity Day, is now known as Spring and Labour Day. Some
years, it occurs on or close to Russian Orthodox Easter, so
some people celebrate in church while others attend customary
9 May -Victory Day
To celebrate Victory Day, the President of Russia sends congratulatory
letters to all the veterans. There are parades, feasts, presents
and flowers to give thanks to the people who fought for the
defense of Russia. In all the cities there are meetings in
which a leader or the mayor of the city gives speeches about
the achievement of people in the war and veterans tell about
their adventures in the war.
12 June - Independence Day
June 12 is Russia's newest holiday, Independence Day, which
commemorates the adoption in 1991 of the Declaration of Sovereignty
of the Russian Federation.
7 November - Peace and Harmony Day (former October revolution
The anniversary of the socialist revolution of October 1917,
which established communist power, still survives. The system
is gone, but many still cling to the custom.
12 December - Constitution Day
This was instituted in memory of the nation-wide referendum
held on December 12, 1993, which resulted in the adoption
of the first Constitution of the Russian Federation. The original
Soviet Constitution was first observed on December 5th, and
then changed to October 7th in 1977. In today's Russia, Constitution
Day (December 12) is not considered a popular holiday, for
many people Constitution Day is simply an additional day off.
However, sometimes it can be a little complicated figuring
out which days the country shuts down.
If the holiday falls on a Monday or a Friday, then everything
is simple - it's a day off. If it falls on a weekend, then
the Friday or Monday will also be a day off.
If it falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, then the weekend
will be shifted a day in the right direction and the Saturday
or Sunday becomes a working day, with the three days off being
Sunday-Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday-Saturday.
If the holiday falls on a Wednesday, then there is no long
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