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New Year

Public holidays: January 1ญญ2 the major family holiday in Russia. See below about Christmas.


Christmas was banned as a holiday by the Soviet regime but was restored to its former status in 1991, and now it is a public holiday. In 1918, the old Julian calendar, which had been used in Russia for 930 years, was abandoned and replaced with the Gregorian calendar, which had already been used for a long time in many countries. The difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendar is the length of the year. The Julian year is 365.25 days, whereas the Gregorian year is 365.2425 days. This means, for instance, that January 1 in the Julian year comes one day later every 128 years, according to the Gregorian calendar. The next time there will be any noticeable difference is in the year 2100, which will be a leap year in the Julian calendar but not in the Gregorian, so the Julian year 2100 will be one year longer. the difference between the Julian calendar and the Gregorian one was 13 days when the Soviet Union abandoned the Julian calendar. Remarkably enough, the Russian Orthodox Church is still using the Julian calendar, so Christmas Day is celebrated 13 days after the Catholic and Protestant Christmas Day, that is on January 7. oNaturally, not many of the Russians of today remember what it was like to celebrate Christmas in Russia before the revolution. New Year took the role of Christmas regarding the giving of presents, Grandfather Frost (the equivalent of Father Christmas and Santa Claus) the gathering of the family. However, it seems that Russia will take up some of the old traditions again, and in the future we may see more presents given at Christmas than at the New Year.

International Women's Day, March 8

The day when all women get presents and flowers. Something like Mther's Day in some ther countries. Although this is an international day, it is not very well-known in many ther countries than Russia.


Easter April 19 was the only religious holiday which was accepted under the atheist Communist rule, but the connections with Jesus were toned down. In at least one sense there was a true connection with Jesus: People greeted each ther with "Khristos voskres!" and answered "Voistinu voskres!" (Christ has risen! -- Truly risen!). the painting of eggs at Easter in Russia is famous. oEaster is celebrated one week after the Catholic and Protestant Easter.

May Day

Public holidays: May 1

Victory Day, May 9

Commemorates the victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The Day of the City (in St. Petersburg), May 27

Commemorates the memory of the founding of St. Petersburg.

The Russian National Day, June 12

Revolution Day, November 7

Used to commemorate the October revolution in 1917, but now this revolution is not celebrated any more. However, this holiday has been renamed as the commemoration of something else and is still celebrated.

Constitution Day, December 1 Copyright © 1999