Russia & Baltics Tours

Russia: Customs, Traditions and Emotions – What to expect

Russia: Customs, Traditions and Emotions – What to expect

Russia: Customs, Traditions and Emotions – What to expect

Many people in Russian have been greatly influenced by globalization, but long-standing traditions are still of vital importance in Russia. Moreover, many of them are truly unique. The most important are the following:

- Holiday traditions. New Years is the biggest (and favorite) celebration for Russians and is considered to be a family holiday. It is the belief that the way you celebrate the New Year indicates how your year will be, so Russians prepare lavish meals and celebrate in style. On New Year's eve, a huge meal is prepared with an abundance of dishes. The most common dishes that can be found at any house are salad Olivier (Russian salad), caviar, champagne and tangerines.

Of course, a Christmas tree is decorated and presents are left under the tree.

- Christmas Traditions - Christmas on the Orthodox Calendar is celebrated on the 7th of January. As with other celebrations, a large meal is always prepared for Christmas. Usually the New Year and Christmas holidays last for about 10 days.

- The next 2 holidays are the Defender’s Day in Febru
ary but is considered to be National Men’s Day – men are usually presented with small gifts and the most popular are shaving foam and socks. And the next holiday is International Women’s Day in March that is celebrated worldwide. On thus holiday women also wait for presents and the common are flowers and perfume. On this day there’re no demonstrations and the holiday is considered to be a holiday of spring and beauty. Usually we have an additional day-off after these holidays.

- Next comes Easter holidays. The main tradition at Easter time is the decorating of hard-boiled eggs. It is a religious holiday and we don’t have an additional day-off.

- The 1-st of May is a Labour’s Day but we have a short holiday for about 3-4 days and this day is considered to be the beginning of a dacha (country home) season. People leave the cities for the holidays, go to their country homes, if there are no country home, then people go for picnics where meat is usually fried in the open air. It is also called a season of Schashlik (barbecue).

- The 9-th of May is a Victory Day, when in 1945 the Russian soldiers defeated the German army in Berlin and Act of surrender was signed by the Germans. It is a great National holiday that is celebrated in every part of the country and there are additional days-off.
- In June we celebrate the Day of Russia. Most major cities in Russia organize large public celebrations for Russia day. This includes concerts by famous musicians, kids’ activities, and fireworks at night.
These are the main holidays, in between we have other holidays that are not so widely celebrated.

Other traditions are connected with family:
- When a new baby is born in Russia he or she is usually baptized in a church. Baptizing is an ancient ceremony during which a new baby is dipped 3 times in to the water. It’s common to invite relatives and guests after this ceremony and to have a festive dinner.

- Birthday Celebrations: It is a custom for the birthday person to provide the feast, and this includes paying for dinner if the celebration takes place in a restaurant or prepare a lavish dinner at home.

And with weddings:

- Before the wedding day it is common to have a hen-party and stag-party.
- It is also a tradition for the groom to pay a ransom before the wedding ceremony.
- The newly married couple usually visits prominent local sights, lay flowers at monuments, and take photos there.
- At the wedding reception, the husband and wife take a big loaf of bread and bite it at the same time, without the use of their hands. This tradition is a playful game, and whoever gets the larger piece, it is said that they will be the leader of their family.
And depending on the preferences there might be a second day of the wedding.

As for customs, they are changing more often than traditions. Today the most widely spread are the following ones:

Russian people usually give up their seats to the elderly or to other people who need it, mostly to women;
When you meet your friend, you may kiss him or her or shake hands;

We usually visit our friends not only on holidays and week-ends. We can do it without any invitation and it’s quite common to bring some tasty things to them, drink tea and have long chats. It is ok in Russia to visit close friends without an invitation.

The Russians are known to be a hospitable and open-hearted people. They like to invite guests to their places, they like to give traditional souvenirs to their foreign friends such as Matryoshka dolls and others.

Russian people like having parties and receiving guests and it’s common to toast the head of the house’s health and success; when you are invited to the party bring something with you - beer is usually accepted with pleasure.
Russian people enjoy reading very much. It’s not surprising at all to see reading people in transport, especially on the underground;

If you're invited for a meal, expect that the hosts will feed you until you feel completely full and not capable of moving.

Russians value generosity, so they can give you the last piece of bread if we believe you need it.
And we expect the same in return.

Some Russians are quite emotional, but somehow it’s all kept inside most of the time.
We may seem a bit cold and too much to ourselves at first, but when you get to know us better, we're like a volcano.

If you invited a girl or a woman somewhere be prepared to pay for her everywhere.
If you invited a man, he’ll pay for himself, and there's a good chance he'll pay for you as well without telling you about it.

There are much more customs and peculiarities about Russian people, that can be discussed for quite a long time.