Russian Traditional Holidays
As in any other country, there are traditional Russian festivals, in which various events are celebrated and others are commemorated. The culture of Russia is very marked by these celebrations and each of them has its own peculiarities. There are unique characteristics of Russian traditions, which differentiate each national celebration from the rest.
The culture of Russia: Holidays according to the calendar
End and beginning of the year (December 31 – January 1)
In most countries of the world, January 1 is considered the beginning of the year. The culture of Russia also does so. However, with some characteristics of its own. This national celebration begins, usually with a family dinner at each house. Which is characterized by the presence of good champagne and the unmistakable Russian vodka.
After that, people take to the streets at midnight to hear the famous bells of the Kremlin, which announce the arrival of a new year. There are 12 bells, while people wish their relatives a “Snovum Godom” that would be the typical happy new year, in Russian.
The Russian new year is characterized by the elegance and joviality of those who celebrate it. Banquets, music and joy are fundamental aspects that must always be present.
January 7: Christmas.
Western culture celebrates Christmas on December 25, commemorating the birth of Jesus. Now, traditional Russian holidays have their own dates, in some cases. And Christmas is no exception.
Guided by the Julian calendar, Russia follows the holiday known as Rozhdestvo, which is also known as Orthodox Christmas. This national celebration is perhaps the most important of all, since the Russian people are known for their faith. During the night, liturgies are performed that can last up to 24 hours. After spiritual activities, people gather in their homes to celebrate as a family.
The typical dishes of the regions, vodka and other traditional drinks, can not be missing. The difference in dates between Western and Russian Christmas is due to the fact that, in the culture of Russia, a calendar known as the Julian calendar was implanted. Which sets some specific holiday dates, such as January 7 for Christmas. Julius Caesar would be in charge of making sure that this orthodox calendar was maintained.
Old New Year (January 13)
As with Christmas, traditional Russian holidays comprise a special date to celebrate the new year. However, they do it twice. This is because both the new year and the old new year are celebrated in Russian culture.
This celebration is very similar to the new year, with some peculiarities such as the one that the Kremlin bells are not played, but religious days and the familiar Russian family dinners are celebrated.
January 25: Students Day.
Also known as the holy day of Tatiana. It is a day dedicated to commemorating Saint Tatiana, a Christian martyr who was characterized by supporting Russia’s intellectual growth. Founder of a monastery that would later become a university. This martyr is assigned to be the patron of the students.
For this day, the students of the country meet in ostentatious marches of celebration, for the future of the nation that they themselves will be building. The joviality and joy characterize this national celebration that is directed to young people and by them. Very important in the life of every Russian, to have celebrated the day of Saint Tatiana in his youth.
Valentine’s Day: February 14
Most countries in the world celebrate it, and traditional Russian holidays are no exception. A date for the enjoyment of lovers, youth or adults. So that they express each other all mutual feelings. Valentine is characterized by the large number of flowers that are sent throughout the country. Gentlemen are a key part of this national celebration although it is well known that lovers make gifts to each other.
The atmosphere in the different cities is oriented to love on this date. Since, it is common for lovers to go out to enjoy various things such as movies, theme parks, restaurants and hotels. Which makes February 14 a commercial date too.
Day of the Defenders of Russia (February 23)
The culture of Russia has been forged in different ways, and war has been one of them. On January 23, 1918, the Red Army would be founded, this date being the one that commemorates that foundation each year.
This day also pays tribute to those who fell in the Second World War, and thanks to their families, because they are considered protective heroes of the nation. It is also important for the nation to thank the war veterans who remain alive; which they do publicly, giving thanks for Russia’s protection against the Nazi army.
The celebration of this day officially begins when the president, in Moscow, places flowers on the well-known “eternal flame” of the Kremlin. The presidential regiment performs a march in the red square of the capital, where patriotic songs and commemorative ceremonies of war heroes are sung.
It is a national celebration full of emotions and historical memory, since the people remember their parents, children, brothers, husbands, grandparents, who gave their lives for the good of the nation
March 8: Women’s Day
One of the most important traditional Russian festivals in the nation, in which tribute is paid to the Russian woman. In its beginnings, it reflected the struggle of women for their recognition as a source of national progress and the equality of their social rights with respect to men.
Although at present, it is not identified with the aforementioned struggle; Russian culture continues to celebrate this day in a way that is made particular according to the different regions. However, it is common for gentlemen to take center stage in this national celebration as they honor their mothers, sisters, grandmothers, wives, daughters, friends and all those women who play an important role in their lives.
Generally, the president addresses his words of love and thanks to all Russian women on this day.
There is a great variety of other traditional Russian festivals, which represent the country and its people. The culture of Russia is known for being particular and different from other countries in the region. A country full of magic, joy and history, all of them, will open before you, when traveling, in each national celebration.