So far New Year is the biggest celebration in Russia. The belief is, the way you celebrate New Year signifies how you will be in the rest of the year. So, everybody wants to dress up in new clothes, laugh and drink until dawn, take photographs, mingle with friends and family, and have delicious dinner. New Year celebrations in Russia include a visit from the Russian Santa Ded Moroz and lighting of New Year tree.
Maslenitsa (Pancake week)
Maslenitsa is the only purely Russian Holiday that dates back to the pagan times. It is dedicated to parting with winter and welcoming of spring. The essential element of this festival is Bliny a pancake. It is a symbol of the sun. It is as round, gold and warm as the sun. Bliby is served hot with either butter, or sour cream, or caviar, or mushrooms, or sturgeon – to any exquisite taste. Besides, every hostess has her own recipe how to cook it. Actually, Russian pancakes are more like French crepes – they are thin, unlike American thick pancakes.Maslenitsa also includes masquerades, snowball fights, sledding, riding on swings and plenty of sleigh rides. Each day of Maslenitsa has its traditional activity.
March 8 is dedicated to all women. It’s an official holiday when women receive gifts from men and boys and are relieved from work. Men are supposed to do all the housework. There are prepared presents for women or delivered concerts everywhere. Women’s Day was established after the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen in 1910.
The feast of Easter is a favorite celebration for most Russians. Russians annually celebrate Easter according to the lunar calendar. The Easter church service starts a night before. Candles are used to light the church until dawn and bells officially announce the arrival of Easter. Russians celebrate Easter with the customary painting of boiled eggs and with a traditional feast.
Unlike the celebrations in the West, Christmas is annually celebrated on 7th January in Russia. Eclipsed by the celebrations of New Year, Christmas in Russia is a little bit less important than it is in rest of the Eastern countries. Christmas is the time to visit family, enjoy a Christmas feast and attend church services.
Victory day remembers participation of Russia in World War II. This day is usually marked with parades. The military parade on Red Square, considered as the central square of Moscow as well as of Russia, being the largest.
White Nights Festival
This is St Petersburg’s liveliest event held from June 21 to July 11. While the sun hardly sets, many musical concerts, theatrical performances, street events, fireworks and other celebrations take place throughout Moscow, St Petersburg and the Golden Ring area.