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Unity Day in Russia

Quick Facts

Unity Day, which is on November 4, is one of the newest and the most controversial holidays in Russia.

Local names

NameLanguage
День народного единстваRussian
Unity DayEnglish
Tag der Einheit des VolkesGerman

Unity Day 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Unity Day 2015

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
List of dates for other years

Unity Day calls for tolerance between various ethnic and religious groups in the Russian Federation. However, the holiday’s purpose can at times be misunderstood. Ultranationalists may organize demonstrations on this day, and many others see it as a day off.

Famous statue of Minin and Pozharsky in front of St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square.

Many Russians remember national heroes, such as Minin and Pozharsky (statues pictured above) on Unity Day.

©iStockphoto.com/George Clerk

What do people do?

Russians may celebrate Unity Day in many ways. Some may lay flowers to the monuments of national heroes, Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, who led a popular uprising that freed Moscow from occupation forces on November 4, 1612.

Russian Orthodox Christians may attend a church service to honor Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most important Russian Orthodox icons. November 4 is this icon’s feast day. The church service usually ends with a procession. Many politicians, public and religious figures stress in televised addresses the need for unity of all ethnic and religious groups in the Russian Federation. Concerts and exhibitions take place on this day.

However, for many Russians, November 4 is just another day off or a substitute for a holiday that was held on November 7 in the Soviet times. Yet others may see it as a call for unity of ethnic Russians against non-Russians. Some ultranationalists and neo-Nazis may have demonstrations on this day.

Public life

November 4 is a public holiday in the Russian Federation. Schools, post offices, public buildings and most businesses are closed on this day. Public transport schedules may vary due to religious processions and political demonstrations. If November 4 falls on a weekend, the public holiday usually moves to the following Monday.

Background

Unity Day commemorates a Russian popular uprising that freed Moscow from Polish-Lithuanian occupation forces on November 4, 1612. Leaders of the uprising, Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, became national heroes. In 1649, Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich made November 4 (October 22 of the then used Julian calendar) a public holiday. Many Russians celebrated this day until 1917. In 1918, the Bolsheviks replaced it with a new holiday, November 7, to commemorate the Revolution of 1917. November 4 once again became a public holiday in 2005, when the Russian Parliament removed November 7 from the list of official public holidays and introduced Unity Day.

Symbols

Monuments dedicated to Minin and Pozharsky, Our Lady of Kazan icon and the Russian flag are the most common symbols of Unity Day in Russia.

Unity Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday type
FriNov 42005Unity DayNational holiday
SatNov 42006Unity DayNational holiday
MonNov 62006Unity Day observedNational holiday
SunNov 42007Unity DayNational holiday
MonNov 52007Unity Day observedNational holiday
TueNov 42008Unity DayNational holiday
WedNov 42009Unity DayNational holiday
ThuNov 42010Unity DayNational holiday
FriNov 42011Unity DayNational holiday
SunNov 42012Unity DayNational holiday
MonNov 52012Unity Day observedNational holiday
MonNov 42013Unity DayNational holiday
TueNov 42014Unity DayNational holiday
WedNov 42015Unity DayNational holiday
FriNov 42016Unity DayNational holiday
SatNov 42017Unity DayNational holiday
MonNov 62017Unity Day observedNational holiday
SunNov 42018Unity DayNational holiday
MonNov 52018Unity Day observedNational holiday
MonNov 42019Unity DayNational holiday
WedNov 42020Unity DayNational holiday

Other holidays in November 2014 in Russia

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