Russian Holidays

The most important Russian holiday is New Year’s Day – January 1st. During the Soviet era, people were not allowed to celebrate Christmas, so New Year’s became the most important holiday. New Year’s is a public holiday while Christmas is more of a private family holiday. Happy New Year in Russian is ‘Snovum Godom.’

Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. This is the equivalent day to December 25 in the old Russian calendar.Russians also celebrate ‘Catholic Christmas’ on December 25th and the old Russian New Year’s Day of January 14th in the Julian calendar, which they used until 1918.

Russians celebrate more holidays than Hallmark Cards. It is just one more reason to pull the cork out of the vodka bottle.

The most important holiday as far as Russian women are concerned is “International Women’s Day.” This is March 8. This holiday, that Americans have never heard of, is like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and her birthday all rolled into one. On this day, the men do all the household chores. They treat the woman of the house as Queen for a Day. They buy her a nice gift and maybe flowers.

One word of advice: Remember this day as you would your anniversary, her birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. It is that important to a Russian woman.

One big difference between Russia and America is that Russians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day. They don’t celebrate any of the ethnic holidays that America has like St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, or Martin Luther King Day, although I’m sure they could get behind the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day one hundred percent.

Each former Soviet Republic has its own independence day that is celebrated like Independence Day in America, although not quite to the same degree it is celebrated in America.February 23 is officially Soldier’s Day and is kind of like Father’s Day where men are honored.

May 9 is Victory Day, where the Russians celebrate victory in the great Patriotic War — what we call World War II. Every man who is a veteran is treated like a general on this day. There is much drinking and celebrating to honor the conquering war heroes.

November 7 is the Soviet holiday that commemorates the October Revolution (which actually took place in November), when the Bolsheviks took power from the Czar. The reason it is called the October revolution is because it was in the month of October in the old Russian calendar.

Remember the parades in Red Square. During this holiday, the Soviet leaders wore those big Russian fur hats while standing above Lenin’s tomb.This holiday is still celebrated by some, although not nearly as much as when the Soviets were in power.

Pascha is the Russian Orthodox equivalent to Catholic Easter. Easter is the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (March 21).Pascha is the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox and Jewish Passover.

This was the date that the Christian Church originally celebrated Easter.Passover is the Jewish religious celebration when the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites during the plagues that Moses visited upon the Egyptians for holding the Israelites captive. The last plague, or curse, was that the first-born sons of all the land would perish.

The Israelites were to sacrifice a lamb to God and put the blood of the lamb over their doorstep. By doing so, they would be Passed Over by the plague, and their first-born would be spared.

To Christians, Jesus represented the Lamb of God. He was the Passover lamb. He was the Lamb who was sacrificed to save the souls of all people, not just the first-born sons of the Israelites.

Jesus came to Jerusalem during Passover and was crucified right after Passover.The Orthodox celebrate Pascha (The Passion) after Passover for this reason.

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