Living in Russia? Here’s a list of all the Russian public holidays you need to know in 2020, as well as other important dates to make a note of on your calendar.
Whether you’re living in Russia or just visiting, it’s important to note the dates of Russia’s holidays. This is because on some of these dates, businesses and public institutions will close or have reduced hours.
To ensure you don’t miss out on anything important, our guide puts together a list of Russia’s public holidays and important dates for your calendar.
Introduction to Russian public holidays
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 publicly 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. Other cities, including St Petersburg, also have their own city days.
Here is a list of Russian national holidays in 2020, as well as other important Russian holidays you should mark on your calendar:
Russia public holidays 2020
This is a list of public holidays to be observed in Russia during 2020. Please note that this list is subject to change due to official announcements.
- Wednesday, 1 January: New Year’s Day;
- 2-8 January: New Year’s holidays.
- Tuesday, 7 January: Russian Orthodox Christmas Day – the Russian Orthodox Church operates with the Julian calendar, which results in 25 December corresponding to 7 January on the Gregorian calendar;
- Sunday, 23 February: Defender of the Motherland Day – this commemorates those in the armed forces, was established in 1919 as Red Army Day and later carried the name Soviet Army and Navy Day from 1949 to 1993;
- Monday, 24 February: Defender of the Motherland Day holiday
- Sunday, 8 March: International Women’s Day;
- Monday, 9 March: International Women’s Day holiday
- Friday, 1 May: Spring and Labor Day – once celebrated in the USSR as International Workers’ Solidarity Day, it was renamed Spring and Labor Day in 1992;
- Saturday, 9 May: Victory Day – commemorates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 when the German Instrument of Surrender was delivered to Moscow, ending the Great Patriotic War between 1941 and 1945;
- Monday, 11 May: Victory Day holiday.
- Friday, 12 June: Russia Day – the main Russian public holiday, which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation in 1991;
- Wednesday, 4 November: Unity Day – established in 2004 as Russia’s newest public holiday, it celebrates the liberation of Moscow from Polish troops in 1612 and is named after the fact that Russians of all social classes united together to achieve this. On the same day, the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates one of the most honored relics in Russia, the icon of Our Lady of Kazan;
- Thursday, 31 December: New Year’s Eve.
Important Russian holidays
- Saturday, 25 January: Tatiana Day – Russian religious holiday;
- The week before Lent, Maslenitsa – an unofficial holiday, this is the Russian equivalent of Mardi Gras;
- Sunday, 12 April: Cosmonaut Day;
- Sunday, 12 April: Easter – unofficial holiday;
- Monday, 6 July: Ivan Kupala Day or Day of John the Baptist – unofficial holiday;
- Sunday, 22 August: National Flag Day – celebrated since 1994 to commemorate the victory over the putschists in 1991, but not classed as a work holiday;
- Friday, 30 October: Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression – held since 1991 to remember the victims of Soviet- and imperial-era repression;
- Sunday, 29 November: Mother’s Day – 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 in Russia. There are 11 time zones across the vast country, which 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
See our guide to school holidays in Russia.
Photo credit (CC-Licence): Natalia Photos (Russian Easter cake).