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National holidays

National holidays

There are eight public holidays in Russia. The New Year (December 31 to January 1) is the first in calendar and in popularity. Russian New Year traditions resemble those of the Western Cristmas with New Year tree and gifts under it, Ded Moroz (Father Frost) playing the same role as western Santa Claus. Orthodox Christmas (Rozhdestvo) falls on January 7th because Russian Orthodox church still follows the old-style (Julian) calendar and all Orthodox holidays are 13 days after the Catholic ones. Another two major Christian holidays are Easter (Paskha) and Trinity (Troitsa), always celebrated on Sundays. Kurban Bayram and Uraza Bayram are widely celebrated by Russian muslims.

Further Russian public holidays include Fatherland Defender day (February 23) honoring Russian men, especially those serving in the army; International Women’s day (March 8); Spring and Labor Day (May 1); Victory Day (May 9) which is the second popular holiday in Russia, commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in World War 2; Russia day (June 12); Unity day (November 4) is celebrated in memory of the event that took  place in 1612 when the rising of the people, united by the national idea, liberated Russia from the foreign invaders , and Constitution day (December, 12).

Fireworks and outdoor concerts are common features of all Russian public holidays. On Victory Day a huge military parade, hosted by the Russian President, is organized in Moscow on Red Square.
Other popular but not public holidays include Old New Year (New Year according to old-style Julian calendar) on January 14, Tatiana Day (holiday of Russian students) on January 25, Maslenitsa (praise of spring), Cosmounautics day (a day of  Gagarin’s first ever human cosmic flight) on April 12, Ivan Kupala day on July 7 and Peter and Fevronia day (Russian analogue of St. Valentine’s Day with focus on the family, love and fidelity) on July 8. On different days in June there are major celebrations of the end of the school year.

Russian state holidays:

January -
1 — New Year’s Day; 7 — Christmas
February - 23 — Defender of the Fatherland Day
March - 8 — International Women’s Day
May - 1 — Labour Day; 9 — Victory Day
June - 12 — Russia Day
November - 4 — National Unity Day
December - 12 — Constitution Day

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