The long Russian Christmas holidays are finally over, and the country should gradually return to business as usual. The difference is, of course, the fact that Russian festivities start on New Year’s Eve and Christmas follows on January 7th. Unlike the Anglican or Catholic Churches, which switched to the Gregorian calendar centuries ago, the Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian Calendar which runs 14 days behind. 14th January is still informally celebrated as the "old" New Year's Day... If the real Christmas tree survives until then, it would be fair to say it has served its purpose and can finally retire...
Russia has a number of other public holidays when many businesses close. Here is a list of them for 2010.
23rd February – Defender of the Motherland Day. This year it falls on a Tuesday so the government made a decision to make 22nd February - the Monday before - a day off too to make it a 4-day long weekend. Instead Saturday 27th February will be a normal working day.
8th March – International Women’s Day.
4th April – Orthodox Easter.
1st May – Spring and Labour Day. In 2010 it falls on a Saturday so Monday 3rd May is also a day off.
9th May – Victory Day. As it conveniently falls on a Sunday, 10th May is a day off in lieu.
12th June – Russia Day and as it will be a Saturday, Monday 14th June will be an extra day off.
4th November – National Unity Day. 5th of November will also be a day off to make up a long weekend, with Saturday 13th November a normal working day in lieu.
All this weekday shifting can be quite confusing for someone who does business with Russia, so hopefully this guide will bring some more sense to the unique Russian working patterns.
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