There are not so many holidays with non-working days in summer, since it is in summer that people tend to take vacations, and children and students have their school break. On the other hand, there are less people in cities, so visiting Russia in summer is very comfortable. Moreover, the weather is more pleasant. From July to mid-August it is almost quiet in cities, even in Moscow, if this metropolitan city can ever be quiet. But you should take note, that theaters also have their break or are on tour across other countries or cities. At the same time, almost all museums are open as usual, free of shouting school kids taking a guided tour.
June 6 – Pushkin’s Birthday (Russian Language Day). World famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin is rightly considered the founder of modern Russian literary language. On this day in Russian cities, people attend Pushkin recitals and watch stagings and scenes from the life of Pushkin and his entourage in museums, theatres and parks. Literature enthusiasts and theatre lovers are advised to attend: the holiday will be entertaining and gratifying.
June 12 - Russia Day. For most Russians it is a mysterious holiday. Very few are aware that on this day the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation was adopted. The president awards state prizes of the Russian Federation. In all other respects Russians remember this day as “oh, that June non-working day”. There are concerts and festivities that take place in parks.
June 24 – Ivan Kupala (The Baptist’s Night) is a holiday dedicated to the summer solstice. It is based on the pagan traditions of ancient Slavs. It was called St. John the Baptist much later, after The Baptism of Rus', when people desperately tried to preserve their traditions and align them with the newly imposed belief. If you have not figured it out yet, Ivan Kupala is John the Baptist. This holiday is not observed officially, but many people still celebrate it. Among those who celebrate the holiday are not only neo-pagans, but those who try their best to preserve traditions and folklore. You can see the celebration and take part in it – for example – in the cities of the Golden Ring, famous for their traditional arts and crafts, and for the preservation of traditional popular culture in general.
August 2 – Airborne Troops Day (VDV), and August 12 – Airforce Day. On these days in every fountain of the country… Ok, not exactly on these days, just on August 2. People in striped shirts frolicking in fountains and boisterously celebrating their professional holiday are not the best walking companions in the city. On August 12 it is almost the same story, but without fountains. On these days if you are not a serviceman (for that matter, even if you are) it is better to stay away from the celebrants and avoid parks and squares where they participate in festive events. Just for safety’s sake.
Summer for Russians is not only the time of warm weather, sun and vacations. Summer is also the time when Russians celebrate some important religious holidays. In August orthodox Christians observe the Dormition fast, which starts after the Savior of the Honey Feast Day on August 14 and ends with the Savior of the Nut or Bread Feast Day on August 29. The most significant holiday of this period is the Transfiguration of Jesus.
People often call it the Savior of the Apple Feast Day (on August 19). In the old days people believed that eating apples before the holiday was a sin. They thought that dead children got paradise apples as gifts in the other world, so parents who had lost their children took this seriously.
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