The Top 10 Occasions for Gift-Giving in Russia

On holidays and special occasions Russians display great hospitality by “opening a big dinner table” and inviting all their relatives and close friends to celebrate.  An abundance of food, alcohol, and desserts is always offered to guests.  Meanwhile, guests commonly bring chocolates and flowers to the host, in addition to gifts deemed appropriate for the occasion.  In Russia, you will never see a guest show up empty-handed.

Recently, analysts at the Russian search engine Yandex compiled data on the top 10 most popular occasions for gift-giving to find out when guests are searching for gifts on the Internet.

1. New Year:

Russians exchange presents on the New Year holiday rather than Christmas. New Year’s day is the major celebration when families get together, exchange gifts, and children wait for the Snow Maiden to deliver presents to the New Year Tree.

2. Birthday:

Russians celebrate their birthdays by hosting their friends and families for a big meal.  Guests offer special long and detailed toasts to honor the birthday person, in addition to writing nice cards and giving flowers, chocolate, and other gifts to the birthday man or woman.

3. Wedding:

A traditional wedding in Russia includes a small wedding party that goes to the ceremony and then proceeds to travel throughout the local area for the bride and groom to take a series of pictures at beautiful locations. The wedding party decorates the cars and notifies the public of the marriage by beeping and cheering from the car.  A reception takes place at a restaurant where singing and dancing persists late into the night.  Russians typically give money and gifts to help the newlyweds start their life together.

4.Valentine’s Day:

Russians celebrate Valentine’s Day in a similar fashion to the West but there is less emphasis on the day because the tradition only started after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

5. Men’s Day:

Traditionally known as the day to celebrate those who served in the Red Army, the holiday evolved into a day for all men when women give cards and small gifts such as cologne, socks, and shaving creme on February 23rd.

Yandex top gift giving occasions

6. Women’s Day:

Known worldwide as International Women’s Day, this holiday is like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s day combined. On March 8th, men give all women in their life, including teachers, colleagues, and significant others special gifts.  Gifts include flowers, chocolates, perfume, and cosmetics.


For Orthodox Christians is celebrated on January 6th and 7th that includes an all night vigil and a traditional meal. Russians exchange small gifts but less so than on the New Year.


Russians celebrate anniversaries like the rest of the world, offering gifts to signify their appreciation for their partner based on a specified gift that corresponds to the amount of years a couple has been married.

9. Christening:

Family and friends often give babies a religious icon or cross on the day of their Christening.

10. Russia Day:

Every year since 1992, Russians celebrate their country on June 12 with parades, fireworks, and other events.  Russians may give one another patriotic gifts that remind them of traditions and their nation.