New Year holiday
1st January, 2–5 January
Behind New Year’s Day (Новый год Novy god) are public holidays as well, called New Year holiday (Новогодние каникулы Novogodniye kanikuly). Until 2005, only 1 and 2 January were public holidays.
Christmas (Рождество Христово Rozhdestvo Khristovo) is observed as a public holiday according to the Julian calendar used by the Russian Orthodox Church. The public holiday was re-established in 1991, following the decades of suppression of religion and state atheism of the Soviet Union. Christmas on 25 December is celebrated in Russia by the Roman Catholic and various Protestant churches, but is not a public holiday.
Defender of the Fatherland Day
The Defender of the Fatherland Day (День защитника Отечества Den zashchitnika Otechestva)is a day of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The holiday was established in 1918.
International Women’s Day
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since.
National Flag Day
The National Flag Day is an official holiday in Russia, established in 1994. It is celebrated on 22 August, the day of the victory over putschists in 1991, but it is not a day-off.
Spring and Labour Day
In the former Soviet Union, 1 May was International Workers’ Day and was celebrated with huge parades in cities like Moscow. Though the celebrations are low-key nowadays, several groups march on that day to protest grievances the workers have.
Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany, while remembering those who died in order to achieve it. On 9 May 1945 (by Moscow time) the German military surrendered to the Soviet Union and the Allies of World War II in Berlin (Karlshorst). A military parade is held in Moscow to celebrate the day. Victory Day (День Победы Den Pobedy) is by far one of the biggest Russian holidays. It commemorates those who died in WWII and pays tribute to survivors and veterans. Flowers and wreaths are laid on wartime graves and special parties and concerts are organized for veterans. In the evening there is a firework display. A huge military parade, hosted by the President of the Russian Federation, is annually organized in Moscow on Red Square. Similar parades are organized in all major Russian cities.
(День России Den Rossii) is the national day, celebrated on June 12. On this day, in 1990, Russian parliament formally declared Russian sovereignty from the USSR (unlike all other ex-Soviet republics which declared complete state independence , Russian independence was less radical, and coexistence of Russian and USSR state power had a place until the end of 1991). The holiday was officially established in 1992. Initially it was named Day of the Adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation, on 1 February 2002 it was officially renamed to Russia Day (in 1998 Boris Yeltsin offered this name socially). There exists a misconception in Russian society, that this holiday is also called Russia’s Independence Day, but it never had such a name in official documents. According to the survey of Levada Center in May 2009, 44% of the respondents named the holiday as Independence Day of Russia.
3rd – 4th November
Unity Day (День народного единства Den narodnogo edinstva) was first celebrated on November 4, 2005, commemorates the popular uprising led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky which ejected the Polish invaders from Moscow in November 1612, and more generally the end of the Time of Troubles and foreign intervention in Russia. The event was marked by a public holiday which was held in Russia on October 22 (Old Style) from 1649 till 1917. Its name alludes to the idea that all the classes of Russian society willingly united to preserve Russian statehood when its demise seemed inevitable, even though there was neither Tsar nor Patriarch to guide them. Most observers view this as an attempted replacement to counter Communist demonstrations on November 7 holiday, which marked the anniversary of the October Revolution. Recently a film 1612 was made to explain to the Russian audiences the history behind the new holiday. National Unity Day is also known as Consolidation Day (as an alternative translation), which people in Russia celebrate on November 3 – November 4.