RussianPod101.com Blog
Learn Russian with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Russian Holidays' Category

Celebrate Teachers’ Day in Russia

Celebrate Teachers' Day in Russia

Have you ever had a teacher who opened your eyes, inspired you, or just made school more bearable? A teacher who left an impression on your life for the better, or helped you through a rough patch?

If so, we don’t need to tell you about the power of teaching—or the art of being a truly exceptional teacher.

Teachers’ Day in Russia seeks to shed light on those teachers, and on the importance of teaching in general. While UNESCO officially established World Teachers’ Day in 1994, Russia was celebrating its own National Teachers’ Day long before that, as early as 1965. This should be no surprise, considering the pedestal Russians place education and knowledge on.

In this article, you’ll learn about how Russia celebrates Teachers’ Day, as well as more about the day’s origins.

At RussianPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

1. What is Teachers’ Day in Russia?

On Teachers’ Day, Russia celebrates and honors its teachers in recognition of the essential work they do for the country’s future. This UNESCO-recognized professional holiday holds great meaning to Russians in all stages and walks of life. This show of respect toward teachers reaches across the globe, and Teachers’ Day is celebrated in many countries around the world.

Teacher’s Day in Russian culture reflects values such as the necessity of education, the dedication present in the best of teachers, and the appreciation of students and families across the country.

2. When is Teachers’ Day?

October 7 is Teacher’s Day

Each year, Russians celebrate Teacher’s Day on October 5.

3. Teachers’ Day Celebrations & Traditions

Chocolate

On National Teachers’ Day, Russia celebrates its teachers through various events and ceremonies.

In particular, children enjoy playing games and participating in competitions on this day, and some students even prepare plays or dances to celebrate. On a more personal level, many students choose to write a thank-you letter to their current or former teachers for the role they played in their life.

Russia celebrates Teachers’ Day further through various events and activities. Some schools or institutions offer training to teachers, and in some regions, there are even awards for the most notable Russian teachers. For example, in Kazan, there’s an award for the Teacher of the Year: a crystal pelican!

4. Original Date of Teachers’ Day

Before the establishment of World Teachers’ Day by UNESCO, Russia originally celebrated its own Teachers’ Day on the first Sunday of October. This was considered the National Teachers’ Day from 1965 to 1994.

After UNESCO established an official World Teachers’ Day, though, Russia changed its date of celebration to coincide with this holiday.

5. Essential World Teachers’ Day Russian Vocabulary

Teacher in Front of Blackboard

Here’s the essential vocabulary to know for Teacher’s Day in Russia!

  • Учительница (uchitel’nitsa) — “teacher” [f]
  • Шоколад (shekalat) — “chocolate
  • Цветок (tsvetok) — “flower”
  • Подарок (podarok) — “present”
  • Премия (premiya) — “bonus”
  • Учитель (uchitel’) — “teacher” [m]
  • Плакат (plakat) — “poster”
  • День учителя (Den` uchitelya) — “Teacher’s Day”
  • Открытый урок (atkrytyy urok) — “open class”
  • Поздравление (pazdravleniye) — “congratulation”
  • Благодарность (blagodarnost’) — “gratitude”
  • День самоуправления (Den’ samaupravleniya) — “Be a Teacher Day”
  • профессиональный праздник (prafessianal’nyy praznik) — “Professional Day”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, alongside a relevant image, check out our Russian Teacher’s Day vocabulary list!

How RussianPod101 Can Help You Master Russian

What are your thoughts on World Teacher’s Day celebrations in Russia? How do you celebrate this holiday in your country? We’d love to hear from you!

To continue learning about Russian culture and the language, visit us at RussianPod101.com. We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

  • Insightful blog posts on a variety of cultural and language-related topics
  • Free vocabulary lists covering a range of topics and themes
  • Podcasts and videos to improve your listening and pronunciation skills
  • Mobile apps to learn Russian anywhere, on your own time
  • Much, much more!

If you’re interested in a more one-on-one learning approach, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own Russian teacher who will help you develop a personal plan tailored to your needs and goals. Yes, really!

Russian can be a difficult language to learn, but know that your hard work and determination are going to pay off. In no time, you’ll be able to speak, write, and read Russian like a native. And RussianPod101 will be here for you with constant support and all the learning tools you could possibly need!

Best wishes, and Happy Teacher’s Day!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

Holiday for John the Baptist: Ivan Kupala Day in Russia

One of the most ancient and important Slavic holidays in Russia is the holiday of Ivan Kupala, celebrated since the twelfth century. Essentially, this day is held in commemoration of St. John the Baptist, though Russians also celebrate through more pagan events.

In learning about the Ivan Kupala Day holiday in Russia, you’re opening yourself up to some unique facets of Russian culture. And as any successful language-learner can tell you, knowing a country’s culture is vital in mastering its language.

At RussianPod101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative! So let’s get started and delve into Ivan Kupala Night, and the following Ivan Kupala Day, in Russia!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

1. What is Ivan Kupala’s Day?

In ancient times, people observed the holiday of Ivan Kupala on the day of the summer solstice (June 20-22). Once Russia adopted Christianity, people linked the celebration to John the Baptist’s birthday on June 24 (old style) or July 7 (new style).

Nobody really knows where the holiday got its name. Some connect it to the Pagan god Kupala, while others say it comes from the Slavic version of St. John the Baptist’s name.

2. When is Ivan Kupala Day?

Ivan Kupala's Day is in July

Each year, Ivan Kupala’s Day is celebrated on July 7 in Russia, beginning on the evening of July 6.

3. Reading Practice: How is Ivan Kupala Day Celebrated?

How do the Russians celebrate Kupala Night and Ivan Kupala Day? Read the Russian text below to learn about Ivan Kupala festival traditions, old and current. You can find the English translation directly below it.

Русский народ ассоциирует три главных символа с Днем Ивана Купалы- - огонь, вода и трава. Таким образом, многие традиции и верования относительно этого праздника имеют отношение к этим трем вещам.

Одной из таких традиций является традиция костра. Русский народ будет строить большой костер и прыгать через него, так как это, как полагают, лечебные силы в эту ночь. Кроме того, в старые времена люди сжигали одежду больных людей в надежде, что они выздоровеют быстрее. Для того, чтобы это сработало, люди думали, что огонь должен быть сделан путем потирания вместе сухих палочек.

В День Ивана Купалы девицы плели венки из цветов с поля и отпускали их вечером, чтобы поплавать на озере или поверхности реки. Затем они наблюдали венок. Если венок застрял вдоль берега, его владелец не женится в этом году; если он скорее затонул, это считалось плохим предзнаменованием. Чем дальше венок плыл с берега, и чем дольше он фактически оставался на плаву, тем счастливее судьба девицы в конечном итоге.

Еще одно интересное убеждение, связанное с этим праздником в древние времена? Люди верили, что накануне Ивана Купалы оживают деревья и растения, разговариваются друг с другом и даже перемещаются по лесу.

The Russian people associate three main symbols with Ivan Kupala Day: fire, water, and grass. Thus, many traditions and beliefs regarding this holiday have to do with these three things.

One such tradition is that of the bonfire. The Russian people will build a large bonfire and jump over it, as this is thought to have curative powers on this night. Further, in the old times, people burned the clothing of sick people in hopes that they would recover faster. In order for this to work, people thought that the fire must be made by rubbing together dry sticks.

On Ivan Kupala Day, maidens wove wreaths made of flowers from a field, and let them go in the evening to float on a lake or river’s surface. They then observed the wreath. If the wreath got stuck along the shore, its owner would not get married that year; if it rather sunk, this was considered a bad omen. The further the wreath floated from the shore, and the longer it actually stayed afloat, the happier the maiden girl’s fate would end up being.

Another interesting belief associated with this holiday in ancient times? People believed that on the eve of Ivan Kupala, trees and plants came to life, talked with each other, and even moved around the forest.

4. The Symbolic Plant of Ivan Kupala’s Day

Jumping Over a Bonfire

Do you know which plant is the symbol of Ivan Kupala Day?

Since ancient times, the symbol of Ivan Kupala Day is the fern. There’s a legend associated with fern flower, which blooms only one time during the year: Ivan Kupala Night. Whoever finds this fern flower will be gifted with many useful and interesting abilities:

  • Understanding bird and animal language
  • Seeing into the future
  • Becoming invisible
  • Finding buried treasure easily

Who wouldn’t want at least one of these abilities?!

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Ivan Kupala Day

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Ivan Kupala’s Day in Russia!

  • Вода (voda) — “water”
  • Июль (iyul‘) — “July”
  • Плавание (plavaniye) — “swimming”
  • Растение (rasteniye) — “plant”
  • Огонь (agon`) — “fire”
  • Папоротник (paporotnik) — “fern”
  • День Ивана Купалы (Den’ Ivana Kupaly) — “Ivan Kupala’s Day”
  • Гадание (gadaniye) — “divination”
  • плетение венков (pleteniye venkof) — “weave wreaths
  • командная игра (kamandnaya igra) — “team game”
  • прыгать через костёр (prygat’ cheres kastyor) — “jump over the bonfire”
  • 7 июля (7 iyulya) — “July 7th”
  • Иоан Креститель (Ioan Krestitel’) — “John the Baptist”
  • Костер (kastyor) — “bonfire”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Ivan Kupala’s Day vocabulary list.

Conclusion

What do you think of the Kupala Night Russia observes each year? Which of the beliefs associated with it do you find most interesting? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about Russian culture and the language, keep exploring RussianPod101.com! We provide fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free Russian vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! We also have an online forum where you can talk with fellow Russian learners or reach out for help!

To take even more control over your Russian learning, upgrade to Premium Plus! With a Premium Plus account, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program, and learn Russian one-on-one with your own teacher!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Russian like a native before you know it! And RussianPod101.com will be here with you on each step of your journey to language mastery.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

How to Celebrate the Day of the Russian Language

UN Russian Language Day

Russian Language Day, established in 2010, is a holiday in United Nations dedicated to honoring Russian literature. In particular, people commemorate the work and life of the famous (and often controversial) writer Alexander Pushkin. In fact, this day used to be named after Pushkin!

In learning about UN Russian Language Day, you’re allowing yourself a glimpse into Russian culture, particularly that which revolves around the famous Russian writers and Russian literature. Any successful language-learner will tell you that comprehension of a country’s culture is a vital tool in mastering the language.

And at RussianPod101.com, we hope to make your Russian-learning journey both fun and informative!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is Day of the Russian Language?

A relatively new holiday, established in 2010, the Day of the Russian Language is a holiday in the United Nations to celebrate the evolution of literature in Russia. Moreover, this holiday commemorates the work and life of Alexander Pushkin, who’s birthday coincides with Russian Language Day.

To learn more about Alexander Pushkin, read the Russian text below and find the English translation directly below it.

Александр Сергеевич Пушкин – великий русский поэт и писатель, признанный гений эпохи романтизма. Пушкин считается создателем новой русской литературы и основателем норм современного русского языка. Его творчество оказало большое влияние на развитие языка и культуры в России.

Пушкин родился 6 июня 1799 года в Москве в аристократической семье. Своей экзотической внешностью он обязан прадеду по материнской линии – Абраму Ганнибалу, уроженцу Эфиопии.

Воспитывался Пушкин частными учителями, обладал прекрасным знанием французского языка и литературы XVIII века. В 12 лет он поступил в лицей, где серьёзно занялся поэзией, и уже в 15 лет опубликовал своё первое стихотворение. Уже в лицее, а также впоследствии, Пушкин был членом различных литературных обществ, был связан тесными узами с “бунтарями” – декабристами, а в 1824 году был отправлен в двухлетнюю ссылку за атеистические идеи.

В 1831 году Пушкин обвенчался с восемнадцатилетней московской красавицей Натальей Гончаровой и переселился в Петербург.

Творческое наследие Пушкина огромно и состоит из произведений различных жанров, форм, стилей и тематик. В основном – это поэзия. Именно в стихах Пушкин отразил свои настроения, мысли, переживания, творческие порывы и поиски. Смелые вольнодумные стихи сменялись разочарованиями и потерей идеалов, вплоть до депрессивности.

В 1837 году, защищая честь своей жены, Пушкин вызвал на дуэль её предполагаемого любовника, поручика Дантеса. Пушкин получил смертельное ранение в живот

и десятого февраля скончался. Жизнь поэта трагически оборвалась, а творчество его осталось. Благодаря Пушкину, русская литература была признана одной из величайших литератур мира. Язык Пушкина прост и понятен, но в этой простоте и ясности заключается удивительная глубина мысли и великой мудрости.

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin was a great Russian poet and writer, and a recognized genius of the Romantic era. Pushkin is considered to be the creator of a new Russian literature and founder of the norms of the modern Russian language. His works had big influence on the development of the language and culture in Russia.

Pushkin was born on June 6, 1799, in Moscow to an aristocratic family. He owed his exotic looks to his great-grandfather on his mother’s side—Ethiopian-born Abram Gannibal.

Pushkin was educated by private teachers, receiving excellent knowledge of the French language and eighteenth-century literature. At twelve years old, he entered a lyceum (or academy) where he seriously dedicated himself to poetry, and at age fifteen, he had already published his first poem. While in lyceum and after it, Pushkin was a member of different literature societies and was tightly tied with “the rebels”—Decemberists, and was sentenced to a two-year exile for his atheist ideas in 1824.

In 1831, Pushkin married an eighteen-year-old Moscow beauty, Natalia Goncharova, and relocated to St. Petersburg.

Pushkin’s literary legacy is huge and consists of works of different genres, forms, styles, and themes. Mostly it’s poetry. It’s poetry where Pushkin reflected his moods, thoughts, worries, creative urges, and searches. Bold, freethinking poems alternated with disappointments and the loss of ideals up to depressiveness in his writings.

In 1937, defending the honor of his wife, Pushkin challenged for a duel with her alleged lover, Lieutenant Dantes. On February 10, Pushkin died of a lethal wound into his stomach.

The poet’s life ended tragically, but his works remain alive. Owing to Pushkin, Russian literature was recognized as one of the greatest in the world. Pushkin’s language is simple and easy to understand, but this simplicity and clarity contains amazing depth of thought and great wisdom.

2. When is Russian Language Day?

Russian Books of Literature

Russians celebrate Day of the Russian Language each year on June 6, the date of Alexander Pushkin’s birth.

3. How to Celebrate Russian Language Day

Woman Reading Poetry

There are no concrete celebrations or traditions for Day of the Russian Language, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find any ways to celebrate. Why not start by reading some of Pushkin’s work to discover for yourself his style and great mind? Not only can you discover the inner world of one of the great Russian writers, but you can increase your knowledge of Russian culture and improve your reading skills.

While you’re at it, there’s plenty of impressive and meaningful Russian literature out there for you to check out! In reading Russian literature classics, you may just discover something that intrigues you by famous Russian writers!

4. Pushkin’s Greatest Works

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in literary language, and this is something Alexander Pushkin was known for.

One of the most loved masterpieces is his novel in verse “Eugene Onegin.” Other big Alexander Pushkin poems, such as “Prisoner of the Caucasus,” “The Gypsies,” “The Misery Knight,” “Boris Godunov,” and “Ruslan and Lyudmila” take special places in literature.

Pushkin’s prose is represented by such remarkable works as “Peter the Great’s Negro,” “The Tales of the Late Iven Petrovich Belkin,” “Dubrovsky,” “The Queen of Spades,” and “The Captain’s Daughter.”

5. Useful Vocabulary for Day of the Russian Language

Handwritten Page

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Day of the Russian language!

  • Концерт (kantsert) — “concert
  • Александр Пушкин (Aleksandr Pushkin) — “Alexander Pushkin”
  • Организация Объединённых Наций (Organizatsiya Ob”edinyonnykh Natsiy) — “United Nations”
  • Генеральная Ассамблея ООН (General’naya Assambleya OON) — “United Nations General Assembly”
  • Писатель (pisatel’) — “writer”
  • русская литература (russkaya literatura) — “Russian literature”
  • литературный язык (literaturnyi yazyk) — “literary language”
  • читать стихи (chitat’ stihi) — “read poetry”
  • постсоветское пространство (postsavetskaye prastranstvo) — “post-Soviet states”
  • славянская народная музыка (slavyanskaya narodnaya muzyka) — “slavic folk music”
  • русская культура (russkaya kul’tura) — “Russian culture”
  • Выставка (vystavka) — “exhibition”
  • Мероприятиe (merapriyatiye) — “activity”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Day of the Russian Language vocabulary list. Here, each word is accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on Russia’s Language Day and Alexander Pushkin? Does your country observe a special language day, too? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about the culture in Russia and the Russian language, visit us at RussianPod101.com! We aim to make the Russian learning experience both fun and informative, and we offer an array of practical learning tools for every student. This includes free Russian vocabulary lists, more insightful blog posts like this one, and an online community forum. By upgrading to Premium Plus, you can also begin taking advantage of our MyTeacher service, which allows you to learn Russian one-on-one with your own personal teacher.

We hope that you enjoyed learning about Day of the Russian Language with us, and that you’ll keep coming back for more information on everything Russian! Know that your hard work will pay off, and RussianPod101.com will be here for every step of your language-learning journey!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

International Women’s Day in Russia: Happy Women’s Day!

Do you know what is the favorite holiday of all members of the fairer sex in Russia is? Naturally, it is March 8, the International Women’s Day, when men lavish care and attention on all women and give them presents to get them in a good mood. (Though this is also the day of the International Women’s Day protest in Russia!) In this lesson, we’ll tell you exactly how this spring holiday is celebrated in Russia here at RussianPod101.com!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is International Women’s Day in Russia?

International Women’s Day in Russia was celebrated for the first time on March 3, 1913. On March 8, 1917, striking workers and ordinary women took to the streets of Petrograd, marking in this way the actual start of the February revolution. In memory of that day, in 1921, the Soviet Union established the holiday of March 8 as an International Women’s Day. Since 1965, March 8 has been a non-working day as well.

2. When is International Women’s Day?

March 8 is International Women's Day

On March 8th, Women’s Day is celebrated throughout Russia as it is around the world.

3. Reading Practice: Women’s Day Celebrations

Read the Russian text below to find out about Women’s Day Russian traditions. You can find the English translation directly below it.

—–

В этот день все мужчины поздравляют женщин и дарят им подарки и цветы. При чем поздравлять можно не только своих любимых, но так же друзей, коллег, да и просто незнакомых женщин. 8 марта проходят различные мероприятия и концерты, а по телевидению традиционно показывают фильм “Служебный роман”. В качестве подарков дарят цветы, шоколад, ювелирные украшения и даже романтические поездки.

Так как 8 марта является выходным днём, то поздравлять и праздновать его начинают уже с 7 марта. На работе мужчины-коллеги поздравляют и дарят женщинам цветы, и, как правило, после работы накрывают небольшой праздничный стол. В некоторых компаниях даже устраивают корпоратив.

В России количество цветов в букете всегда должно быть нечетным. Четное количество цветов приносят только на похороны. Поэтому мужчинам следует быть очень внимательными, если они самостоятельно составляют букет.

—–

On this day, all men congratulate women and give them presents and flowers. Notably, congratulations can be given not only to your beloveds but also to friends, coworkers, and to unknown women as well. Many events and concerts take place on March 8, and the movie Office Romance (“Sluzhebny Roman”) is traditionally shown on TV. The presents can be flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and even romantic trips.

As March 8 is a non-working day, congratulations and celebrations begin as early as March 7. At the office, men congratulate their female coworkers and give them flowers; as a rule, after work, they lay a small festive table. Some companies even arrange a company party.

Bouquets in Russia should always be composed of an odd number of flowers. Even numbers of flowers are brought only to funerals. For that reason, men need to be very careful if they arrange a bouquet themselves.

4. Additional Information: Flowers

Breakfast Tray and Flower

What kind of flowers do you think women are given most often on March 8?

The undisputed leaders among the flowers most commonly given on March 8 are tulips or roses. It has recently become popular to give live flowers in pots.

5. Must-know Vocab

Male and Female Colleagues

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for International Women’s Day in Russia!

  • Завтрак (zaftrak) — “Breakfast
  • Женщина (zhenschina) — “Woman”
  • Мужчина (muschina) — “Man”
  • Девушка (devushka) — “Girlfriend”
  • Цветок (tsvetok) — “Flower”
  • Конфета (konfeta) — “Candy
  • Коллега (kollega) — “Colleague”
  • Подарок (podarok) — “Present”
  • Девочка (devochka) — “Girl”
  • Международный женский день (Mezhdunarodnyy zhenskiy den’) — “International Women’s Day”
  • Восьмое марта (Vas’moye marta) — “March 8th”
  • Букет (buket) — “Bouquet”
  • Внимание (vnimaniye) — “Attention”

If you want to hear each vocabulary word pronounced, visit our Russian International Women’s Day vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio with its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know more about International Women’s Day in Russia. Does your country celebrate International Women’s Day as well, or a similar holiday that honors and celebrates women? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Russian culture and the language, visit us at RussianPod101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Russian learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Russian teacher!

We hope you enjoyed learning about International Women’s Day in Russia with us! Know that all of your hard work and practice will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Russian like a pro before you know it! Until next time, we wish you much success!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

Russian Men’s Day: Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia

Defender of the Fatherland Day (or День защитника Отечества) is a significant celebration to the Russian people. Formerly known as Red Army Day, Defender of the Fatherland Day is set aside to honor and celebrate those who serve (or have served) in the Russian army.

Learn the Russian language in context by exploring the country’s various holidays. By learning about Defender’s Day in Russia, you’re also allowing yourself to better understand the Russian culture and showing respect for its defenders as well.

Let RussianPod101.com guide you through the various aspects of Russian Army Day, including Defender of the Fatherland Day traditions.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is Russian Defender of the Fatherland Day?

Defender of the Fatherland Day, or in Russian, День защитника Отечества (Den’ zashchitnika atechestva), is the day reserved to celebrate those who defend the peace of Russia.

This holiday emerged after the 1918 Revolution and was initially called “Red Army Day” or in Russian День красной армии (Den’ krasnay armii). In the 1940s it was renamed “the Day of the Soviet Army,” or День советской армии (Den’ savetskay armii), then the holiday received its present name in 1995.

Nowadays most Russians consider this holiday a “men’s day.” This is related to the existence of a conscription law in Russia. Consequently, every young man who has served in the army, or в армии (v armii) in Russian, is already considered “a defender of his Fatherland.” “Fatherland” in Russian is Отечество (Atechestva).

2. When is Defender’s Day in Russia?

Defender of Fatherland Day on February 23

Russia celebrates Defender of the Fatherland Day each year on February 23. The 23 of February was chosen as this holiday’s date simply because it’s the Sunday just after the two events it commemorates:

  • Red Army drafts on February 17, 1918
  • Red Army establishment on February 18, 1918

3. Defender of the Fatherland Day Traditions

Celebrating with Fireworks

The holiday is celebrated at home or at a gathering at someone’s house. On that day, men not only receive presents, but there may also be parties at their places of work. While there’s not really a special Defender of the Fatherland Day food, we’re sure that men enjoy receiving a good home-cooked meal or tasty snack on this day.

On February 23, in many Russian cities, mass public events such as military parades, stunt performances, fairs, and car races take place. In Moskva, or Moscow in English, Sankt-Peterburg, or Saint Petersburg in English, Murmansk, and Smolensk, you can see festive fireworks.

Further, Defender of the Fatherland congratulations take place. This is a way of showing great appreciation and gratitude to those who are serving in the Russian army (or those who have served in the past).

There’s an interesting tradition in Moscow—the President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which in Russian is called Могила неизвестного солдата (Magila neizvesnava saldata), and this is followed by a minute of silence and the National Anthem.

4. Additional Information

This is considered a masculine holiday in Russia (and is even known as “Men’s Day”), but what about the women who serve in the army? Are they also recognized and celebrated on Defender of the Fatherland Day? Read the Russian text below to find out (you can find the English translation below it).

—–

Оказывается, мужчины ждут своих подарков и внимания на 23 февраля не меньше, чем женщины на 8 марта. По этому поводу в России даже говорят:
“Как встретишь 23 февраля, так 8 марта и проведешь.”
В России женщин, которые служат в вооруженных силах, тоже поздравляют с праздником 23 февраля. Ну а как? Они же тоже, получается, защитницы нашей Родины - России.

—–
As it turns out, men look forward to receiving presents and attention on February 23 no less than women do on March 8, which is International Women’s Day, or in Russian, Международный женский день (Mezhdunarodnyy zhenskiy den’). In Russia there’s even a saying:

“How you celebrate February 23 shows how you’ll celebrate March 8.”

In Russia, the women who serve in the armed forces also receive congratulations on February 23. How else should it be? They are defenders of the Fatherland as well.

5. Must-know Vocab

Russian Army

Now that we’ve gone over holiday information, here’ some vocabulary you should know to better understand the day and celebrate it to the fullest.

  • Мужчина (muschina) — “man”
  • Солдат (soldat) — “soldier”
  • Подарок (podarok) — “present”
  • почтовая открытка (pachtovaya atkrytka) — “postcard”
  • Ветеран (veteran) — “veteran”
  • Салют (salyut) — “firework”
  • Патриотизм (patriatizm) — “patriotism”
  • Армия (armiya) — “army”
  • военный парад (voyennyy parad) — “military parade”
  • Родина (Rodina) — “motherland”
  • воинская служба (voinskaya sluzhba) — “military service”
  • 23 февраля (23 fevralya) — “February 23”
  • Защитник (zashchitnik) — “defender”
  • Поздравление (pazdravleniye) — “congratulation”
  • красная гвоздика (krasnaya gvazdika) — “red carnation”
  • День защитника Отечества (Den’ zashchitnika Otechestva) — “Defender of the Fatherland Day”

If you want to hear each vocabulary word’s pronunciation, check out our Russian Defender of the Fatherland Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about Defender’s Day in Russia. What do you think of День защитника Отечества or Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day? Is there a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

For more information on Russian culture and the Russian language, visit us at RussianPod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Russian students! You can even download our MyTeacher app for a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Russian teacher.

Until next time, keep studying hard and practicing your vocabulary. And stay tuned for more Russian holiday articles. You’ll be a master of the Russian language and the country’s culture before you know it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

Tatiana Day: How to Celebrate Russian Students’ Day

День российского студенчества (Den’ rassiyskava studenchestva) or “Russian Students’ Day,” also called Tatiana Day, is a day of great celebration among Russian youth. Not only does this day mark the end of the first school term (and therefore the end of finals!), it also holds great historical significance and is filled with lavish parties.

As is true for all Russian holidays, learning about Tatiana Day in Russia will provide you with great insight into Russian culture and history. Find out more about the origins of Russian Students’ Day and how this holiday’s celebrated in Russia with RussianPod101.com!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is Russian Students’ Day?

Considering how many Russian holidays and celebrations there are, what makes Tatiana Day so important?

Students’ Day in Russia seeks to commemorate and celebrate the day in 1775 that Empress Elizabeth officially allowed a petition to go through for the development of a university in Moscow (this was the first-ever Russian university). Ivan Shuvalov initially began this petition, as Russia’s then-Minister of Education.

Not long after this event, a church (namely the Church of St. Tatiana) was built on the campus of this university, thus giving this Russian holiday its name.

For this reason, it’s thought that St.Tatiana is a “patron saint” of Russian students, meaning that she fully approves, oversees, and protects them throughout the country.

This holiday also serves as a reflection of how important both education and religion are to Russia and its people. (Soon we’ll see how partying and fun play into this as well.)

2. Russia Students’ Day Date

Russian Students' Day is January 25

Each year, Russians celebrate Russian Students’ Day on “January 25” or 25 января (25 yanvarya).

3. How is Tatiana Day in Russia Celebrated?

Celebrating with a Party

This Russian holiday’s celebrated all over Russia, though previously it was only celebrated in Moscow. For Russians, this is a Выходной (vykhadnoy) or “day off,” especially for students who worked and studied hard during the first school term. While it’s celebration does resemble other Russian holidays and traditions, it does have its unique facets.

Russian Students’ Day is celebrated by attending a large ceremony at the St. Tatiana church at the Moscow State University. This ceremony often involves singing by a choir.

Afterward, however, is when the real fun begins.

Many Russian students use this day to throw a Вечеринка (vecherinka) or “party,” especially in bars or restaurants. As you can guess, there’s also a lot of drinking; it’s even expected and therefore local authorities let it slide. (Completing finals week is definitely worthy of a few drinks, wouldn’t you agree?)

Another fascinating aspect of this holiday is the lighting of the symbolic чаша знаний (chasha znaniy) or “cup of knowledge” at the Lomonosov Monument. When evening arrives, Russians celebrate Tatiana Day with a lovely and colorful fireworks display. Nice way to end the occasion, we think!

4. Additional Information

This Russian holiday, along with being a celebration for students and regarding education, is a day to honor the St. Tatiana. Due to the greatness of St. Tatiana, many parents name their female children after her, and so this Russian holiday has also become a special day for those named Tatiana. Some people refer to this as a “name day.”

5. Must-Know Vocab for Russian Students’ Day

  • Ученик (uchenik) — “Student” [masc.]
  • Январь (yanvar‘) — “January”
  • Общежитие (apshchezhytiye) — “Dormitory”
  • Университет (universitet) — “University”
  • Студент (student) — “University student” [masc.]
  • Студентка (studentka) — “University student” [fem.]
  • День российского студенчества (Den’ rassiyskava studenchestva) — “Russian Students’ Day”
  • Вечеринка (vecherinka) — “Party”
  • Выходной (vykhadnoy) — “Day off”
  • 25 января (25 yanvarya) — “January 25th”
  • Татьянин день (Tat’yanin den’) — “Tatiana Day”
  • Однокурсник (adnakursnik) — “Classmate” [masc.]
  • Oднокурсница (adnakursnitsa) — “Classmate” [fem.]

If you would like to hear each word pronounced, be sure to visit our Tatiana Day in Russia vocabulary list. Each vocabulary word here is accompanied by an audio file for your convenience.

Conclusion

We’ve covered the basics of Russian Students’ Day, as well as the most important vocabulary related to this holiday. We hope you had fun learning this little aspect of Russia’s culture and found our article insightful.

If you want to learn even more, be sure to visit us at RussianPod101.com! We offer vocabulary lists on multiple topics, insightful blog posts, and even have an online community where you can discuss what you’re learning with fellow Russian language-learners. And if you prefer a more one-on-one approach to learning, you can download our MyTeacher app and get the best possible learning experience!

Be sure to brush up on your Russian culture knowledge as well, and we know you’ll be speaking like a well-cultured native before you know it. Also keep in mind that we’re going to be publishing more Russian holiday posts soon!

Until next time, we’re wishing you the best in all your language-learning endeavors.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

How to Say Happy New Year in Russian & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Russian New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join RussianPod101 for a special Russian New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Russian

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Russian? Let a native teach you! At RussianPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Russian New Year wishes!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in Russia
  2. Must-Know Russian Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Russian
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How RussianPod101 Can Help You Learn Russian

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Russian New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Russia

Do you know what holiday the Russian people like the most? It’s New Year’s Day which of course is celebrated on the evening of December 31. New Year’s Day is the largest, most significant holiday in Russia, and people start preparing for it as early as the middle of December. In this lesson, you will learn about traditions associated with celebrating New Year’s Day in Russia, as well as some well-known New Year’s omens.

Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you- how many times do you think New Year’s Day is celebrated in Russia?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading!

There is a Russian proverb that says “How you celebrate the New Year shows how the whole year will go.” In Russian, it’s “Как встретишь Новый год, так его и проведёшь.” It’s believed that the merrier and more joyful the New Year’s Day celebration is, the luckier and happier the next year will be. That is why everyone in Russia tries to celebrate New Year’s Day with their nearest and dearest. Many people like celebrating New Year’s Day with friends at a restaurant, while others may like going to a ski resort. But wherever you are, a big holiday tree is decorated in the main square in almost every city.

Almost all households set up a festive New Year spread which isn’t complete unless it includes Olivier salad, which is called “салат Оливье” in Russian, and champagne. As the saying goes, the more lavish the New Year spread is, the more prosperous the coming year will be, which is why the table is laden with numerous delicacies. People typically start sitting at their tables at 10 p.m., so they can raise a toast to the departing year. In the evening, the “Russia 1” TV channel shows the New Year’s Eve concert “Blue Flame” which in Russian is called “Голубой огонёк”. It’s also said that on New Year’s Eve, Grandfather Frost, or “Дед Мороз” and his granddaughter Snow White, or “Снегурочка” visit people’s houses and put presents under the New Year tree for kids. By the way, Grandfather Frost’s home is located in the city named “Великий Устюг”.

About ten minutes before the clocks strike midnight, the whole country listens to the President’s New Year speech. In Russian, it’s called “новогоднее поздравление Президента”. There is also a custom of making a wish while the Kremlin clock is chiming. After the last chime, people wish each other “Happy New Year” and clink glasses full of champagne. In Russian “Happy New Year” is “С Новым годом!”. People celebrate till morning, and the sounds of fireworks can be heard all night long.

Every year on New Year’s Eve, old Soviet movies are shown. The movie “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!”, or “Ирония судьбы или с легким паром” has been shown every December 31 for more than twenty years.

So, coming back to our quiz, how many times do you think New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Russia?

Well, in fact, Russia is the only country in the world where New Year’s Eve is celebrated nine times. Because of its huge expanse, the territory of Russia includes nine time zones. The first ones to celebrate the New Year are the Кури́льские острова́ and Kamchatka, and the last one is Kaliningrad.

Happy New Year!

С Новым годом!
S Novym godam!

2. Must-Know Russian Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Russian Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

год
god

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Russia could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

полночь
polnoch’

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

Новый год
Novyy got

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party

вечеринка
vecherinka

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

танец
tanets

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

шампанское
shampanskoye

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

салют
salyut

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

Happy Near Year!

8- Countdown

отсчёт времени
atshchot vremeni

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

Новогодние каникулы
Novogodniye kanikuly

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

конфети
kanfeti

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Канун Нового года
Kanun Novogo goda

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

тост
tost

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

резолюция
rezolyutsiya

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

парад
parad

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At RussianPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Russian New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Russian word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at RussianPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Russian friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

Больше читать.
Bol’she chitat’.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Russian in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Russian language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Проводить больше времени с семьёй.
Pravadit’ bol’she vremeni s sem’yoy.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

Похудеть.
Pakhudet’.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

Накопить денег.
Nakapit’ denek.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to RussianPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Бросить курить.
Brosit’ kurit’.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Выучить что-то новое.
Vyuchit’ shto-ta novaye.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

Меньше пить.
Men’she pit’.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Регулярно заниматься спортом.
Regulyarna zanimatsa sportam.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

Кушать здоровую пищу.
Kushat’ zdarovuyu pishchu.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Russian with RussianPod101

учить русский язык с RussianPod101.com
uchit` ruskiy yazyk s RussianPod101.com

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Russian, especially with us! Learning how to speak Russian can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. RussianPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Russian new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Russian, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Russian incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with RussianPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Russian could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Russian - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Russian - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with RussianPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Russian! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that RussianPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Russian at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Russian that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Russian with RussianPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Russian

How to Say Merry Christmas in Russian

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Russian? RussianPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Russian Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Russian speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, RussianPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Russian!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Start Learning A Language!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Russia
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How RussianPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Russia

Christmas Words in Russian

Did you know that in Russia people don’t give presents for Christmas? Let’s discuss how people celebrate Christmas in Russia.

Now, before we go into more detail, I’ve got a question for you - why is Christmas in Russia celebrated on January 7 and not on December 25?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

Christmas, or as it’s known in Russian Рождество (Razdestvo), is actually observed in Russia on January 7. It’s a state holiday and a day off. As is the same in all Christian nations, Christmas in Russia is a celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ. In Russian, Jesus Christ is called Иисус Христос (Iisus Khristos).

Christmas in Russia is a warm, family-centric holiday which most Russian people try to spend at home. In Russia, It’s not customary to give each other presents for Christmas, there is no Santa Claus, and people don’t especially decorate a Christmas tree. On this holy day, a great number of people attend celebratory church services, make confessions, and receive communion. It’s customary to serve on a festive table, pork dishes such as aspic or холодец (Khaladets) in Russian, homemade sausages, and ragout.

The day before Christmas is called Сочельник (Sachel’nik), which means Christmas Eve. The word сочельник meaning “Christmas Eve” comes from the word сочиво (sochiva). Сочиво (sochiva) is a meatless porridge made from wheat with a little honey added. It’s customary to make twelve meatless dishes for Christmas Eve, among which there should be sochiva, a porridge made from wheat, millet, rice or other grains with added poppy seeds, walnuts, raisins, and honey. Tradition dictates that all twelve dishes must be sampled, but none should be eaten completely in order to ensure that there will always be prosperity in the family.

On Christmas Eve, the Orthodox churches are decorated with a Nativity scene including small models of Bethlehem Cave. In Russian, the Bethlehem Cave is called Вифлеемская пещера (Vifleyemskaya peshchera) with small figures inside. The Nativity scene depicts the birth of Christ. The main decorations of the Nativity scene are the manger with the baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary, or Дева Мария (Deva Maria), and Joseph, or Иосиф (Iosif).

In Russia, the tradition of Christmas divinations has been preserved right up until this day. Divinations made on the night of January 6 are considered the most accurate and truthful. On that night, young maidens request divinations about who their betrothed will be and when they will find love.

So then, why is Christmas celebrated on January 7 and not on December 25 in Russia?

It’s all because of the calendar. The Russian orthodox church uses the Julian calendar, or “The old calendar”. December 25th on the Julian calendar corresponds to January 7th on the Gregorian calendar.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

Счастливого Рождества!
Schastlivogo Rozhdestva!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Russian? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

Счастливой Кванзы!
Schastlivoy Kvanzy!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Счастливого Нового года!
Schastlivogo Novogo goda!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

Счастливой Хануки!
Schastlivoy Khanuki!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Весёлых зимних каникул!
Vesolykh zimnikh kanikul!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

Увидимся в новом году!
Uvidimsya v novom godu!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

тёплые пожелания!
toplyye pozhelaniya!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Russian Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

Весёлых праздников! Весёлых праздников!
Vesyolykh praznikaf!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Russian, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

Наслаждайтесь праздниками!
Naslazhdaytes’ prazdnikami!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Russian, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

Всего самого лучшего в Новом году!
Vsevo samava luchsheva v Novam gadu!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Russian! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At RussianPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Рождество
Rozhdestvo

This is the Russian word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Russian will include this word!

2- Snow

снеговик
snegovik

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

снежинка
snezhynka

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

снеговик
snegovik

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

индейка
indeyka

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

гирлянда
girlyanda

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

северный олень
severnyy olen’

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Санта Клаус
Santa Klaus

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

эльф
el’f

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

оленёнок Рудольф
olenyonok Rudol’f

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Северный полюс
Severnyy polyus

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

санки
sanki

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

подарок
podarok

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

колокол
kolokol

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

труба
truba

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

камин
kamin

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Рождество Христово
Razhdestvo Khristova

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

украшение
ukrasheniye

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

чулок
chulok

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

падуб
padub

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

пряничный домик
pryanichnyy domik

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

леденец
ledenets

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

омела
omela

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Russian, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Russian! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. RussianPod101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit RussianPod101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Russian for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Russian, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, RussianPod101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Russian. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in RussianPod101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

Russian Culture - Russia Day in Russia

On June 12th of each year, the Russians celebrate a holiday known as Russia Day. This National holiday of the Russian Federation marks the approval of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet that took place on June 12, 1990.

The holiday was initiated on June 12, 1992 in remembrance of this momentous occasion. It symbolized the fight for democracy against the communism that was dominant in Russia at the time.

The national interest in economic reform formed the democratic movement for change. People responded to this new idea and the Russian statehood was consolidated to reflect a new constitution and a new President of the Russian Federation.

This was a great landmark reached and so the Russians celebrated this milestone in their political life and called it Russia Day. December 25, 1991 marked a new day for Russia as the country’s name was changed as the Supreme Soviet of Russian announced the beginning of a National holiday.

Russia Day is a reflection of the country’s past and its present as most country’s holiday do. It celebrates the culture of Russia as well as the experiences that brought the country to this point.

Previously, the holiday was known as Russian Independence Day, but was soon changed to Russia Day in 2002 as the people of Russia struggled to understand from whom they had derived their Independence even though it was said to have been from the Soviet Union.

The Russians saw this day as a day off from their normal life of going to work and doing other things. They viewed their status as a nation that has always been a Russian State despite the different name changes. There are some that see this as the day that their government had crumbled under pressure. Some remembered it as a time of social disorder and economic difficulties.

There are some who embrace it and enjoy the day of track and field that is held on the exterior of the Kremlin. On that day, the President of Russia gives away achievement awards in Science and Culture.

There are activist that use this day as an opportunity to protest against environmental issues. It symbolizes something different for everyone.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From RussianPod101.com!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at RussianPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Russian together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Russian with RussianPod101.com!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the RussianPod101.com Team!