What Are “Red Calendar Days” in Russia?

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It’s like the Hunt For Red October, but actually very different.  Russians refer to holidays that are also days off of work as “the red days of the calendar”.

As many of you know, I believe that real capitalism is what you will find in Russia.  Although, the Motherland has a reputation for red tape, if you take a closer look, you will most certainly be surprised at how many areas of the economy are left largely unregulated.  And many businesses will work later into the evening than their Western counterparts, and provide services at what seems to be nearly any time of day or night.

But Russia makes up for all that free market economy enthusiasm during the “Red Calendar Days”.

I have seen more than one unsuspecting foreign businessman left “all dressed up and no place to go” because he had planned his trip without first consulting the Red Days of the Calendar.

So, what days are holidays in Russia for the year 2018?  RIA-Novosti reports that Prime Minister confirmed the holidays for this year all the way back in October of last year.

Here are the Red Days Of The Russian Calendar for 2018:

  • December 30, 2017-January 8, 2018
  • February 23-25
  • March 8-11
  • April 29-May 2
  • May 9
  • June 10-12
  • November 3-5

By the way, if you do come to Russia sometime around these holidays you will get extra credit for knowing the meaning of the holiday and appropriately congratulating your Russian friends.

Forget about engaging in commercial trade, discussion of the buying, selling, bartering, or trading of any products or services on Red Calendar Days.  I mean seriously.  I think you could walk through some Siberian neighborhood tossing Ben Franklins into the wind, and no one would bother to bend over to pick any of them up.  There is nothing worse than preparing, getting all dressed up, and then not being appreciated for it.

When Russians work, they work hard.  And when they don’t work?  Well, just forget about it.  So, learn to plan ahead.

I will even take this a step further- many Russians plan shorter vacations around these days- it’s a great way to use less vacation day.  So, before planning your next trip to Russia, be sure to check the holiday dates, but if you are coming anywhere near a holiday, it’s a great idea to call the folks you plan to meet with and say when you are coming and make sure that you aren’t interfering with their Red Calendar Plans.

And why am I writing this post?  Well, today is February 23, which is Defender of the Fatherland Day.  I know very well about this holiday, but in the busyness of this week it had slipped my mind.  So, even after all these years, I made a rookie mistake, and found myself flat-footed yesterday- realizing I had promised to get some work done today, but then realizing last minute it wouldn’t be happening. Because all of my co-workers would most certainly be celebrating this Red Calendar Day.

And so, as my mom taught me “If you can’t beat them, then join them”,  and yesterday I wrote an apology to the folks I had promised to get the the work done for today.  And this morning I took the kids sled riding.

Because there is a lot to said for work ethic.  With the work ethic, in Russia I’ve learned the value of a little rest and relaxation.  After all, “the work is not a wolf- it will not run away into the forest”.  And we will all be hard at it again on Monday.



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