May

Victory Day, National holiday

9 May 

Victory Day, National holiday Victory Day, National holiday

No other country has paid such a price for the global victory over Hitler as Russia - nearly 25 million Russians perished during four years of conflict. Victory Day is dedicated to the memory of those who fought and died, to the celebration of the victory they secured and remembering the lessons of war.

On Victory Day, Russian TV is dedicated to Soviet movies and documentaries about World War II. Veterans are honoured and fireworks lit the skies all over the country with the grand parade taking place in Moscow’s Red Square. Many give war veterans red carnations, local schools hold special celebrations. At home Russian families gather to honour still-living World War II veterans as well as to remember relatives who have died.
Victory Day is a public holiday in Russia and it is very special to be there on the day.

Don't miss:

  • Watch a local parade or attend the grand parade in Moscow. You will see military equipment, including tanks, missile launchers, thousands of soldiers on the march, and the latest new military innovations. The troops will move through Red Square in a stunning display. After the parade, a ceremony will be held at the Russian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • Keep an eye out for black and yellow St. George Ribbons, which are meant to honour acts of valour, and the Red Star Medal on veterans, which symbolises bravery in fight
  • In Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) look for the grandiose statue called The Motherland Calls. It is the largest female statue in the world. Her posture is distinct, the sword raised high in the sky while her other had reaches out calling brave to defend the Mother Russia. This monument commemorates the Battle of Stalingrad, which was key to the outcome of the war.

Spring and Labour Day, National holiday

30 Apr-1 May 2018

Spring and Labour Day, National holiday

Originally the 1 May celebration developed from the ancient pagan Spring Day festivities. But it was declared the International Workers’ Solidarity Day in 1918 when Communist forces rebelled and took over the country.

During the Soviet Union, Labor Day was of high importance as part of the Communism symbolism and was marked with military parades and demonstrations.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the holiday was renamed as Spring and Labour Day. Today it is mainly celebrated to welcome spring.

Since 2013, Russians enjoy a five-day break off work - from May 1st through May 5th. Many spend this time at home with friends and family, relaxing, travelling or going to dacha - traditional privately owned summer houses in the countryside where most Russians spend their time off and enjoy agriculture and barbecues. On Spring and Labour Day women receive flowers, typically tulips, and children - colourful balloons and ice cream.

May holidays are a wonderful time to visit Russia - tree branches begin to blossom, the air is full of spring and festive atmosphere can be enjoyed.

Don't miss:

  • On May 1st enjoy numerous parades in all the major cities, especially in Moscow. However, try to avoid labour demonstrations if any take place
  • Check out which festivals and celebrations are planned in the cities - the programme is always full with exciting events

Museums at Night

19-20 May 2018

Museums at Night

Museums at Night is an annual festival designed to encourage people into museums, galleries and heritage sites by showing off the best they have to offer. More than 250 cultural institutions will be accessible free of charge all day long on May 20 till late at night.

White Nights Festival, St Petersburg

end of May - early July

White Nights Festival, St Petersburg

Due to St Petersburg’s Northern location you can witness the beautiful phenomenon of never setting sun between May and mid-June. Enjoy a walk at midnight under warm lights of sun on the horizon. This provides the romantic setting for the annual White Nights Festival, an arts festival with music and dance by Russian and international stars. The Mariinsky Theatre has a programme of more than 175 operas, ballets and classical concerts. There are carnivals, too, the best being in the Peterhof where actors dress up in historical costumes from the time of Peter the Great and re-enact historical events.

Free Museum Days in Moscow

3rd Sunday of each month

Free Museum Days in Moscow

The museums that are under control of the City Department of Culture offer free admission on every 3rd Sunday of the month. Please note that the federal museums such as the Tretyakov Gallery, the Historical Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts do not participate in this initiative. Long queues can be expected as there always many visitors who would like to use the offer.

Kremlin’s Cavalry Guard Change

Each Saturday at 12:00 pm

Kremlin’s Cavalry Guard Change

A centuries-old tradition of the ceremonial change of the guard revives in Kremlin each Saturday through the Russian warm season. The ceremony is a mix of intricate maneuvers and musical performances. Admission is by the ticket for visiting the architectural complex of the Kremlin’s Cathedral Square (Annunciation, Assumption and Archangel Cathedrals and of the Patriarch’s Palace and the Church of the Twelve Apostles) – 500 rub.

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