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Russian Holidays, Russian Customs and Remembrance Days

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Russian Holiday : January 1 - New Year

This is one of the greatest non-religious holidays in Russia, celebrated on a noble scale. The main attributes are the New Year's tree, Grandfather Frost, and the Snow Maiden. This amazing holiday is accompanied by the Presidential speech, chime of bells, fireworks, hymns, and family feasts. It is a tradition to drink a glass of Champagne and to wish for something after the last stroke of chime. Gift-giving is especially loved by children: sweets, toys, dolls, bicycle, etc. But grown-ups also do not miss a chance to congratulate each other on the beginning of New Year. The best gifts for this holiday are: fruit basket, jewelry, wool blankets, wine.

Russian Holiday : January 7 - Russian Orthodox Christmas

Religious holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. According to the Russian Orthodox church, Christmas occurs on January 7. All the family members gather on this day together and have a delicious dinner. Duck with apples is a traditional meal for Russians on this day. Many people attend special church services and pray. Like New Year, Russian Orthodox Christmas is a family holiday. Among presents for this day the 1st places are taken by fruit basket and wool blankets.

Russian Holiday : January 13 - Russian Old New Year

The tradition to celebrate this holiday is explained by the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church still follows the old calendar. On this day we say farewell to the passed year, hoping that next year will realize all our dreams. They say that it's also a good chance, for those who haven't managed to relax to their fullest during New Year celebrations, to have fun. Gift-giving is not compulsory for this holiday, but to please their close friends and relatives, people can present soft toys or some sweets.

Russian Holiday : January 19 - Epiphany

It's a great religious holiday. On the eve of Epiphany it's customary to make holy water at the church and wash yourself with this water. Many people connect this holiday with the beginning of the strongest frost, called "Epiphany frosts". The most decisive men practice bathing in the ice-hole, cut out in the form of a cross. For such brave people the best presents for this holiday will be soft towels.

Russian Holiday : January 25 - Student's Day (Tatiana's Day)

It's the founding day of the State Moscow University and at the same time the holiday of all Russian students. This day was previously known as the day of the saint martyr Tatiana, who was later declared the patroness of the Russian Studentship. This holiday is celebrated heavily all over Russia. The most typical presents for students are textbooks, books, dictionaries, and for ladies with the name "Tatiana" - flowers, perfume and cosmetics.

Russian Holiday : February 14 - Valentine's Day

This holiday originated in Ancient Rome in honor of the priest Valentine, who conducted solemnizations of a marriage for soldiers despite of the Emperor's order. The priest was beheaded and later beatified as a patron of all lovers. Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries, including Russia. It's traditional to express one's feelings and affection for the dearest people. Valentine's cards, flowers, sweets, fruit, soft toys, greeting cards, cosmetics, perfume, romantic CDs and movies, jewelry, lingerie are very popular presents on this holiday.

Russian Holiday : February 23 - Day of the Army

The origin of this day goes back to 1922, when the formation of the Russian Red Army began. All the defenders of our motherland celebrate this great holiday together with their families. Grandfathers (veterans of different wars), fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, nephews are congratulated, no matter whether they are real soldiers, military men or just future defenders. Gifts must typically be manlike; however in Russia very often among military men you can find women. And for them it is a real pleasure to receive something feminine for this "Men's Day": flowers, perfume, elegant dresses and shoes.

Russian Holiday : March 2-9 - Maslenitsa

Maslenitsa, Cheesefare Week, or Pancake, week is a Russian religious and folk holiday. In 2008 it will be celebrated from the 2nd till the 9th of March. Maslenitsa has a dual ancestry: pagan and Christian. On the pagan side, Maslenitsa is a sun festival, celebrating the imminent end of the winter. On the Christian side, Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent. Pancakes, masquerades, snowball fights, sledding, effigy of Lady Maslenitsa (called Kostroma) and a great bonfire are the symbols of this typically Russian holiday. Among gifts there may be Recipe-books, tea-sets and, of course, sweets.

Russian Holiday : March 8 - Women's Day

All the women and young ladies are looking forward to this great and important holiday. It's a deserved day when women can relax to the fullest, get as much attention, love, compliments, presents and flowers as they want. All the day, ladies are devote to themselves, go for different beauty services, and their loving husbands and boyfriends prepare magnificent Romantic dinners, give them gorgeous bouquets of flowers and jewelry. And in the evening couples can go for a "sweet love story" to cinemas or theatres and enjoy the performances.

Russian Holiday : April 1 - Day of Laughs

The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, enemies and neighbors. Russian jokes and hoaxes are harmless in comparison with American ones. The most popular phrase this day is: "Your back is white!" Nobody knows the origin of the Day of Laughs, but involves making fun of other people with great pleasure. Presents are not typical for this holiday, if it's not something really amusing. It's better to present a ticket to some comedy or a ticket to the Ice Palace where everybody will have a lot of fun.

Russian Holiday : April 12 - Yew Sunday

It's a religious Christian holiday, celebration the entering of Jesus to Jerusalem. It's customary to decorate rooms with willow branches, which symbolize palm branches of the people who met Jesus. This holiday occurs on Sunday one week before the Easter. In 2009 it will be celebrated on the 12th of April.

Russian Holiday : April 24 - Russian Easter

It's an ancient Christian holiday, commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In 2011 it will be celebrated on April, 24. There is always a great church service for all the parishes. During the day there are different open-air celebrations. The symbols of Russian Easter are painted eggs (eggs - breaking) and Easter cakes (kulichi). You can send such presents as a pizza, fruit basket or a pot-plant (as a symbol of life and coming summer).

Russian Holiday : May 1 - Day of Labor and Spring

Previously it was called May Day. It was an important official holiday of the Soviet Union, celebrated with elaborate popular parades in the centre of the major cities. It was first openly celebrated on May 1, 1917. The biggest celebration was traditionally organized in the Red Square. After the demise of the Soviet Union, May Day became a two-day holiday (Labor Day and Spring Holiday). Spring flowers will be the best present for someone special on this day.

Russian Holiday : May 9 - Day of Victory

Victory Day marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War in 1945. All the veterans take part in the parades in their native cities and in the Great Parade in Moscow. The president addresses the people with a greeting speech, and congratulating the whole country with the victory. After the parades different open-air celebrations are organized (concerts, competitions, etc). This wonderful day ends with a great fireworks display. Veterans will be pleased to receive some wool blankets or flowers (especially, carnations) on this holiday.

Russian Holiday : June 1 - Day of Children's Defense

The holiday originated in France in 1949, but was first celebrated in Russia in 1950. The whole day is devoted to children's rights. Different meetings are held for the defense of children. Lots of organizations organize concerts, competitions, and performances for children; they visit orphanages and help with toys, furniture, and books for the orphans. The motto of this day is: Children are our Future!!! Toys, sweets, bicycle, tickets for cartoons and comedies make children smile.

Russian Holiday : June 12 - Day of Independence

It is the main state holiday of the Russian Federation. It marks the declaration of Russian Sovereignty (from 1991). Since 2002 according to the decree of the President this holiday became the Holiday of Russia. There are lots of concerts, meetings, and festivals on this day, ending with a great fireworks display. All the buildings are decorated with small Russian flags, and the whole atmosphere is festive and solemn. The best present for this day is something typically Russian: a wristwatch with a Russian flag on it, a good Russian movie or CD.

Russian Holiday : September 1 - Day of Knowledge

It's a very important day for all the students in Russia. It is the day when the school year traditionally starts in Russia, and many other former USSR republics. It has special significance for the incoming class of 1st graders who will come to school for the first time and often participate in a celebratory assembly on this date. Students in other grades may begin studies on 1st of September or a few days later, usually without any special festivities. Students bring bouquets of flowers to their teachers, and very often students go to cinemas and their parents present them with books, sweets, etc.

Russian Holiday : October 5 - Teacher's Day

It was celebrated for the first time in 1965. Till 1994 Teacher's Day always occurred on the first Sunday of October, but then it was decided to celebrate it on October, 5. It's a professional holiday of all the teachers in Russia. They receive presents, flowers, and greeting cards from their students. All the schools organize special concerts where children congratulate teachers on this wonderful holiday.

Russian Holiday : November 4 - Day of Accord and Reconciliation

Previously this holiday was celebrated on the 7th of November and was called the Day of the October Revolution. But later it was decided to celebrate it earlier and to change the name. It's a tradition to apologize on this day for all the bad things you've done. If a person has some enemies or he/she was offended by somebody, he/she must forgive those people and make peace with them. Some people give presents (toys, fruit basket, sweets, etc) on this day to their close friends or relatives to please them.


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