A History of Russian Holiday Cards (Pre-Revolution)

The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. It is believed that first Christmas card was created by an English artist named “Dobson” in 1794. The […]

Read more

Holidays in Russia: A Guide

This resource provides a list of those holidays of cultural importance in Russia. Dates, days off, and histories of the holidays are all included.   New Year / Новый Год December 31, 2018 – January 1, 2019 (days off: Dec 30, 2018 – Jan 8, 2019) Russians will work a half day on Saturday, Dec […]

Why do Russians Clap on Planes?

The Village is a Russian-language publication in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev that seeks to inform locals about their various cities, their upcoming events, changes, and history. The following are two interesting entries from a series of short articles geared to answer the “strangest questions about city life” in the cities covered by the publication. […]

Why Do Russians Shout «Горько!» (Bitter!) at Weddings?

The following information originally appeared as part of a longer article on The Village, a Russian-language lifestyle publication.  It has been adapted by SRAS and translated here by SRAS intern Mae Liou.   Gerda, a professional Russian wedding emcee: People often ask me about this, so for some time now I’ve been aware of several […]

Maslenitsa Through the Eyes of American Students, 2018

On February 17, squares, avenues and parks in every corner of Russia celebrated Maslenitsa, a traditional Russian holiday that marks the imminent end of winter with mountains of hot, delicious blini and revelry. Originally a pagan holiday celebrated as early as the 2nd century A.D., Maslenitsa has been somewhat folded into Orthodox Christian traditions and […]

New Year’s Celebrations in Irkutsk

One of the most amazing things I’ve done in Russia is to celebrate the New Year here. This is Russia’s main holiday. In Russia, Christmas (celebrated on Jan 7 rather than Dec 25) is a religious holiday without gifts and parties. The New Year is more like our Christmas and when the Russian version of […]

Unity Day in Irkutsk

Unity Day (День народного единства) is held on November 4 every year across Russia. It commemorates the uprising which kicked out the Polish occupying forces from the Kremlin in November of 1612 at the end of the Polish-Muscovite War. The holiday was recognized during Imperial times, but after the 1917 Revolution, the Soviets replaced the […]

National Kyrgyz Horse Games

This year elections for the Issyk-Kul region were coming. This does not affect life much as a temporary student in Kyrgyzstan except that it means that the Бир Бол political party set up the National Kyrgyz Horse Games (Националные конно-спортивные игры) with free entrance for anyone! This was only a half hour walk outside of […]

A History of Russian Holiday Ornaments

Ghosts of Holidays Past: Interview with Kim Balaschak by Josh Wilson The expat community in Moscow functions much like a smaller town in the US, where the degrees of separation between individuals rarely total more than two. So it was that my email address had crossed Kim Balaschak’s computer (through a mutual Russian acquaintance) and […]