Events and festivals in Russia
Until the establishment of Soviet Russia, the country was governed by the Julian calendar. Because of this, often national festivities are celebrated twice, following the ancient calendar and the current dates of the Gregorian.
In addition to its religious festivities, there are several political ceremonies that commemorate victories, unification and independence. In all of them traditional country music and dances feature heavily.
Feast of Ivan Kupala
A very popular party in Russia on which the summer solstice is celebrated. The feast contains components that symbolize water, fire and natural herbs believed to produce miracles. Ivan Kupala has pagan origins, although, with the emergence of Christianity in Russia, it is a mixture of traditions. On the night of the feast, the Russians do not sleep, so they light bonfires, pour water over one another and young and unmarried people take part in rituals in which they lie down with a bouquet of plantain weeds under their pillow. The night before the feast is known as a night for mischief, and people play friendly pranks on each other.
Festival of Moscow
Every city in Russia has its own day of celebration. In this case, the first Sunday of September commemorates the founding of Moscow, which took place in 1147. The ceremony is held in the Red Square, although throughout the weekend there are concerts, fairs, workshops and sporting and cultural events throughout the city. On the last night, there is a spectacular firework display.
International Art Festival
Moscow has played host to this event since 1994 and this festival practically lasts the whole month of November. It is one of the most important cultural festivals of the city, in which musical shows and concerts of different genres are organized, as well as exhibitions of literature and art. Visiting Moscow in November is a great idea as you are spoilt for choice due to the sheer number of events taking place, many of which are free!
It is one of the most important festivities in Russia, first, they celebrate it with family and then move outside for a big party in the streets which always feature colourful fireworks. They await the arrival of Ded Moroz, the Russian Santa Claus, who, on that night, together with his granddaughter Snegurochka, give presents to the children who gather with their families in the streets.
Old New Year
During this day, the Russians celebrate the New Year's entry on the date of the old Russian calendar, which was followed until 1918, at which time the Soviets changed the Julian calendar to the Gregorian. Since then, many of the country's festivals are celebrated twice, according to the current and the old calendar. On this day, the Russians drink champagne and the streets are filled with celebration.
Russian Independance Day
Russia's Independence Day is celebrated to remember the date when the country left the Soviet Union on June 12, 1990. To commemorate it, all day long the squares of the different cities are filled with food and drink stands, there are concerts, people go for walks together and in Moscow and St. Petersburg there are also fireworks shows.
In honour of the soldiers who fought against the fascist regime of Hitler, on this day several commemorative acts are organized in the public squares and streets of large cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Military parades and events are held in honour of victims who fought and lost their lives in World War II.