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Moscow - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for Moscow

The elaborate Moscow Metro

When to Go to Moscow

July and August are the warmest months in Moscow and the main holiday season for foreigners and Russians. Summer days are long and can be wet. By the end of November Moscow is frozen most of the time and serious snow arrives in December and stays until April. Spring arrives fast and with a great thaw, a month or so long, and people go a touch crazy.

Moscow Events

Moscow's festivals have shaken off their 'joyous workers' march' image and are now shaking booty with the best of them. The main public holidays are New Year's Day (1 January), Russian Orthodox Christmas Day (7 January), International Women's Day (8 March), International Labour Day/Spring festival (1 and 2 May), Victory (1945) Day (9 May), Russian Independence Day (12 June), Day of Reconciliation and Accord (7 November).

A great many festivals are derived from Orthodox church tradition. Orthodox Christmas begins with midnight mass on 7 January. Orthodox Easter, known as Pashka, falls some time in March or April - it begins with a midnight church service, after which people eat special dome-shape cakes and curd cakes and swap painted wooden eggs.

In odd-numbered years, the Moscow Film Festival hits the city's screens in autumn. The Russian Winter Festival is pretty much a tourist affair, with 'troyka' rides, folklore shows, games and vodka, and is celebrated between 25 December and 5 January. Sylvestr is the Russian New Year celebration, and is the main gift-giving festival of the year, with presents placed under the traditional fir tree. Muscovites see out the old year with vodka and welcome the new one with champagne.

Public Holidays
1 Jan - New Year's Day
7 Jan - Russian Orthodox Christmas Day
23 Feb - Defenders of the Motherland Day
8 Mar - International Women's Day
Mar/Apr - Easter Monday
1-2 May - International Labour Day
9 May - Victory (1945) Day
12 Jun - Russian Independence Day
7 Nov - Day of Reconciliation and Accord
12 Dec - Constitution Day

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