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National Holidays

 
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January 1-New Year Day: Many Russians celebrate this holiday in the traditional Soviet style by going out a few days before New Year's Eve to buy a real or artificial "Yolochka" or Christmas tree. A large dinner is prepared on New Year's Eve and presents are exchanged with help from "Ded Moroz" or Father Frost and his granddaughter "Snegurochka". Afterwards the New Year is celebrated at 12 midnight, and the partying lasts until morning.
January 7- Orthodox Christmas: Because the Russian Orthodox Church does not follow the Gregorian Calendar, some holidays are fourteen days after Western holidays.
January 25- Student's Day: Hope this don't need any comments...
February 14- Valentine's Day: it's not so wide celebrated us in Europe, but it's very popular among youth.
February 23 -Day of Protector of Fatherland (Men's Day): In the USSR it was the Day of Soviet Army. Men (especially old) are given presents in this day.
"Maslenitsa" week: very old holiday symbolising coming of spring. During "Maslenitsa" the most common dishes are pancakes.
March-8 International Women's Day: Across Russia this day is celebrated by inviting family or friends over for dinner. Women are given presents of flowers and/or gifts. This holiday is Russia's answer to Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Secretary's Day all rolled into one. Tip to male expats - Do not forget this holiday!
Easter: The most important holiday in Russia, the dates of this holiday vary as they do in the West. Many Russians, go to church to take part in Easter services whether they are Orthodox or not.
May 1 and 2 - May Holidays: This day is no longer marked with tanks rolling onto Red Square. But there's more live music, dancing, eating, drinking and general partying. Many expatriates use this holiday time to take a few days off from the office.
May 9 - Victory Day: A day marking the Soviet Union's victory over Germany in World War II or the Great Patriot War as it is referred to in Russia. Parades take place all over the city, and there are celebrations at Victory Park.
June 12- Independence Day: Every year the question "Independence from what?" or "What does 'independence' mean?" is debated publicly. Some take a more practical view of the holiday and consider it to be more of a "Self-identification Day" in the hopes of determining what exactly it means to be Russian in this day and age.
November 7 - Anniversary of the October Revolution or Day of Reconciliation and Accord: The changeover to the Gregorian calendar after the October Revolution means that this anniversary is now actually in November. In 1997, on the 80th anniversary, it was announced that this should be renamed Day of Reconciliation and Accord.
December 12- Constitution Day: To commemorate the implementation of the Russian Constitution on December 12, 1993.
 
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Adrian Bachmann,
Switzerland:

"When I applied at AIESEC St. Gallen, Switzerland, where I was a student of political and economical science that time, I absolutely wanted to go to Russia. For a longer time I have been fascinated by this marvellous country which was said to be so interestingly contradictory. I had no big expectations about it. I just hoped to meet some nice people, to learn about daily life and customs in Russia, to see some sights, to improve my language skills and to get an insight of business in Russia. To say it short: All these points have been fulfilled. Actually they have been surpassed! What I got was a huge quantity of unforgettable impressions. It's no use to compare or even to evaluate Russian and Swiss manner of living. Many things in Russia just made me amaze, some things were not easy for me to understand. But aren't it exactly the cultural differences that make a trip abroad so exciting? Isn't it the knowing about differences that really adds personal value?"