23rd February 2019: Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia
On February 23rd, Russia celebrates its men. Many Russians observe February 23 as men’s day because military service is obligatory for most of them in Russia. The men get presents and postcards from their relatives, even if they did not serve in the military! Common symbols of Defender of the Fatherland Day are a soldier and the Russian flag. These symbols often appear on postcards and congratulatory banners in Russian cities on that day.
8th March 2019: International Women’s Day
Guys have their day on 23rd February (Defender of the Fatherland Day), but Women’s Day on 8th March is the more cherished celebration. Men are expected to give up their seats on public transport for women all year round, but on this day they go further to show the important women in their lives how much they mean, bringing gifts and flowers, and offering their thanks.
4th March – 10th March 2019: Maslenitsa
Maslenitsa, which roughly translates to “Butter Week”, is a celebration that involves pancakes, street festivals, decorated sleigh riding, ice-skating and much more! This religious and folk event prepares faith believers for the Lent season and the coming of spring; in recent times, it is celebrated by everyone, regardless of religious beliefs.
1st May 2019: Spring and Labour Day in Russia
Initially, Spring and Labour Day started out as a celebration of communism, mostly of it supposed superiority over capitalism. After the Soviet Union’s collapsed, it lost its socialist meaning, but some political parties and labor unions still set hold rallies across the country!
9th May 2019: Victory Day in Russia
Victory Day marks Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union in 1945. Russia celebrates it while remembering the 25 million citizens who died in these four years of fighting. Many people attend a local military parade and watch the fireworks at night on Victory Day. The biggest parade is in Moscow’s Red Square, showcasing Russia’s military forces. Most veterans wear their medals as they head to the parade or to an event organised by a local veteran organisation.
27th May 2019: Saint Petersburg City Day
The city’s day is celebrated with a huge parade along Nevsky Prospect. The crowds stroll towards free concerts at Palace Square, games on the Admiralty Lawn, and the embankments for a great view of the firework displays.
June 2019: The White Nights
For almost a month, the sun doesn’t set in Saint Petersburg. This is a great time to see the city at its most thrilling as celebrations take place all over town. One of the high points is the Scarlet Sails (end of June), which celebrates the end of the school year with an enormous firework display, attracting up to a million revellers.
12th June 2019: Russia Day
The national holiday of the Russian Federation has been celebrated every year since 1992. Each year, a large concert takes place in the city.
29th July 2019: Navy Day
The Navy Day is one of the most popular holidays in Russia. Every naval base hosts concerts and firework shows at the end of festivities.
2nd November – 3rd November 2019: Autumn Festival of Lights
The Autumn Festival of Lights involves Saint Petersburg’s most famous and beautiful landmarks and historical monuments, such as the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, the Mariinsky Palace or the Kazan Cathedral. With the newest 3D-mapping and audio-visual technologies, the festival shows amazing light projections and breathtaking multimedia art.
7th November 2019: Day of Concord and Reconciliation
The meaning of this holiday has changed since the end of the USSR – for most of the 20th century, this was celebrated as the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution that brought Lenin to power. Huge military parades showed the strength of the Soviet Union. Nowadays it is an official holiday and a chance to reflect.