Russian public holidays in 2017 and other major Russian holidays
Here is a list of main Russian holidays in 2017, including Russian public holidays, school holidays, and other widely celebrated holidays in Russia.
Every year the Russian government makes an announcement about the fixed Russian holidays for the coming year. Whenever Russian public holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, the preceding Monday is usually designated as a ‘bridge’ public holiday in Russia, with a Saturday nearby then becoming a regular working day. If public holidays in Russia fall on a Saturday or Sunday, an additional day off may be publically announced.
New Year Russian bank holidays can also sometimes be extended until 7 January (Russian Orthodox Christmas), while the nearest Saturday and/or Sunday may be declared working days. You can check if any of the top Russian festivals fall on a national holiday in Russia, as they are a great way to experience Russian culture and regional Russian food.
Each city in Russia also has an official founding date, with celebrations, fireworks, speeches, food and drink. Moscow's City Day, for example, is usually celebrated around the first weekend of September with free concerts in Lubyanskaya square and a varied cultural programme of firework shows, theatre, cinema, farmer's markets and other excursions. In 2017 Moscow will celebrate its birthday on 2 September, while St Petersburg's City Day is held yearly on 27 May.
Here is a list of Russian national holidays in 2017, as well as other important Russian holidays you should mark on your calendar:
Russia public holidays 2017
- 1–5 January: New Year’s holidays
- 6 January: ‘Bridge’ holiday
- 7 January: Russian Orthodox Christmas Day – the Russian Orthodox Church operates by the Julian calendar, thus the 25 December corresponds to 7 January on the Gregorian calendar.
- 23 February: Defender of the Motherland Day – this holiday commemorates those in the armed forces past and present, and was established in 1919 as Red Army Day, and later carried the name Soviet Army and Navy Day from 1949 to 1993.
- 24 February: Defender of the Motherland Day (sometimes known as Defender of the Fatherland Day)
- 8 March: International Women's Day
- 1 May: Spring and Labour Day – once celebrated in the USSR as International Workers’ Solidarity Day, it was renamed Spring and Labour Day in 1992.
- 8 May: Extra holiday in lieu of the 7 January holiday
- 9 May: Victory Day – celebrates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, the culmination of the Great Patriotic War between 1941 and 1945; May 9 1945 was when the German Instrument of Surrender was delivered to Moscow.
- 12 June: Russia Day – the main Russian public holiday, which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation on 12 June 1991.
- 4 November: Unity Day – this is Russia’s newest public holiday, established in 2004, and celebrates the liberation of Moscow from Polish troops in 1612 and is so-called because Russians of all social classes united together to achieve this. On the same day, the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates one of the most honoured relics in Russia, the icon of Our Lady of Kazan.
- 6 November: Unity Day observation
- 31 December: New Year’s Eve
Easter in Russia: Religion plays an important role in many popular Russian holidays.
Important Russian holidays
- The week before Lent, Maslenitsa (unofficial holiday), is the equivalent of Mardi Gras and celebrated around the country.
- 23 February: Russia doesn't celebrate Father's Day similar to other countries but the closest equivalent is considered to be Defender of the Fatherland Day, which has evolved to become an unofficial tribute to all men; some women and children may give small gifts.
- 12 April: Cosmonaut Day
- 1 May: Easter (unofficial holiday)
- 7 July: Ivan Kupala Day or Day of John the Baptist (unofficial holiday).
- 26 November: Mother’s Day was introduced in 1998 but many people still give gifts to their mothers on International Women’s Day in March.
- There is no daylight saving time change in Russia. There are 11 time zones across the vast country but as from October 2014, they are all permanently on ‘winter’ time.
- For a list of celebrated dates in Russia, see our guide to Russia's festivals and dates.
School holidays in Russia
State schools follow the Russian school holidays set down by the Ministry of Education and Science, and most private schools keep to a similar schedule. The academic year runs between 1 September (when children traditionally take in flowers for the first day of school) until around the end of May, with exams in June.
Russian school holidays usually include eight days in November, 12–15 days in December/January, eight days in March, and summer holidays mid-June to the end of August. Younger children get an additional week’s holiday in February. Contact individual schools for more information.
Photo credit (CC-Licence): Natalia Photos (Russian Easter cake).
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