Russian Festivals & Events

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When it comes to uncovering the ‘Russian soul’, there is so much more than meets the eye. Most travellers only catch a glimpse of its rich traditions and age-old culture. However, for true immersion, you’ll have to visit Russia during the festive seasons.

The best of Russian festivals and events celebrate Russia’s rich culture, history and religion. Coupled with a vibrant mix of music, film, food, and dancing, you are guaranteed to create long-lasting memories. Experience authentic local customs on full display, meet artisans and craftsmen, and taste the best of Russian cuisine.

With over 1,500 festivals held annually across Russia, each is filled with exciting, and at times bizarre, customs and traditions. For example, The Reindeer Herder’s festival and the “Pole of Cold” festival still retain ancient pagan rituals almost lost to the clamour of the modern world. What’s more is that while New Year’s and Christmas are well-known festivals celebrated all across the globe, the manner of celebration in Russia is strikingly unique and not something to be missed. 

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Russian Festivals: Holiday Seasonal Events & Special Occasions 

In particular, Russian Orthodox Christmas remains a captivating cultural remnant. Russian locals celebrate this sacred day in churches and households across the country. Families congregate at midnight to worship, forming a large crowd scattered with luminescent candles, while bright Christmas lights are strung above the snow-laden streets. Another lovely seasonal delight is the Russia Orthodox Easter Festival which falls later than Easter on the regular Christian calendar (early April). It involves more solemn rituals and a week of church services starting from Palm Sunday. 

Russian Festivals: Theatrical Events – Opera, Ballet, Musicals & Cinema 

If travellers are looking to explore Russian festivals that highlight performing arts and theatrical events, they can visit the Stars of the White Nights Festival from May to July. Held in St Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre, this festival highlights Russia’s extraordinary talent in many fields ranging from opera, classical music, ballet and orchestras. Many of these feature talented solo musicians, famous conductors, dancers and singers. In Moscow, travellers can also attend the Golden Mask Festival, a two-month program that showcases a diverse catalogue of theatrical art performed across prestigious venues. Similarly, the Moscow International Film Festival (held from June to early July) calls for a wonderful celebration of Russian cinema. This includes screenings of Russian documentaries, short films, avant-garde features and even the latest Hollywood blockbusters. 

Russia Festivals: Cultural Events & Traditional Celebrations 

For Russia tourists seeking thrilling festive celebrations and vibrant traditions, the Maslenitsa Festival is an absolute favourite. This is especially true for those who love pancakes! However, traditional Russian pancakes (blini) have various fillings such as sour cream, caviar and salmon, giving a unique cultural twist to your typical breakfast food. The famous Russia Winter Festival is another fantastic event which kicks off mid-December in Moscow. It involves sleigh rides, traditional folk music and dance, ice-skating on the frozen lake, warm street food and vodka. Travellers in Russia should also check out the pagan holiday St John The Baptist’s Day. Here, you can marvel at fiery bonfires being lit across cities, towns and villages alike.

The sheer number and variety of awesome Russian festivals and events isn’t simply limited to these! We’ve only scratched the surface of Russia’s amazing national depth. Browse our travel blog articles below for more fascinating insights about Russian cultural festivities, seasonal traditions and holiday celebrations.

Russian Festivals & Events

10 Russian Festivals Every Traveller Should Experience

By 56th Parallel | Last updated on 15th Apr 2020

Most tourists come to Russia for a fleeting taste of its rich traditions and age-old culture. But to truly immerse yourself in the spirit of Russian culture, consider visiting the country during one of the Russian festivals or holidays.

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Maslenitsa festival moscow tour
Russian Festivals & Events

Maslenitsa festival in Russia - when the pancakes never end

By 56th Parallel | Last updated on 21st Apr 2020

Russia’s Maslenitsa festival rings in the passing of winter. Also known as ‘pancake week’, the traditional Russian festivity is famous for its blini (pancakes) with many fillings and toppings, from sour cream to caviar, to salmon and all things sweet!

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56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

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