Basically in Russia there are as many official holidays as in every other country of the world; nine to be exact. However, the interesting thing about Russian holidays is the following: they last long. Preparation for the holiday begins at least a day before it actually arrives. Then it is considered tradition to prolong the holidays if they are close to the week-end or if they just turn out to be on a Monday. So usually instead of one day off people get two or three free days. Sometimes even more ? like a special Russian fiesta!
Another nice thing about Russian holidays is that all the shops, supermarkets and the grocery stores are open throughout the day and usually work until the late evening, especially in big cities and downtown areas. It is not a good idea to plan any business during a Russian holiday, since people just don't think about work. But for the tourist, traveling at this time could be quite interesting. You can escape that awful rush hour traffic, which is very common during the average work day. As a matter of fact you will get a chance to see cheerful Russians and witness how they party. Believe me - this is something to discover!
Despite the fact that to foreigners Russians seem to celebrate something all the time, there are only nine official holidays in the country. Of course there are many days in which it is considered appropriate to celebrate, such as the day of printing, or the day of geologists, the day of chemists, the library day, the day of the frontier guard, the day of Slavic literature and culture; there is even a fisherman's day and many more dates to drink for someone's respectable profession or something else completely unrelated. Basically Russian people can celebrate something almost every day. Sometimes there is a good reason for a big party, but no reason is needed to celebrate life by having a drink with a few friends.
The official holidays often require participants to forget about their jobs and problems and just have a good time. This, more often than not, includes many alcoholic drinks that are consumed with friends.
Russian Holiday Schedule
New Year's Day Day - January 1,2
Christmas Day - January 7
Defenders of the Motherland Day - February 23
International Women's Day - March 8
Easter - May 5 (2002)
April 27 (2003)
April 11 (2004)
Labor Day/May Day - May 1, 2
Victory Day - May 9
Independence Day - June 12
Day of Accord and Reconciliation
(The holiday formerly known as the
Day of the Great October Revolution) - November 7
Constitution Day - December 12