Looking forward to a few months from now will be springtime in Russia, and what better time to go on a Trans-Siberian Experience than when the flowers are beginning to bloom and the skies are turning blue? Spring symbolises rebirth, regrowth and rejuvenation in Russia as in many other cultures. This season in Russia marks a change in the pace of life for many locals, who take time out to be with their families and enjoy the pleasures that life can bring. Although the weather in spring, between March and May, can be a little changeable, there are plenty of things to see and do during your visit.
When does springtime begin?
Often, we consider spring to begin towards the end of March and last through to May. In Russia, however, spring doesn’t truly begin until the first few weeks of May and even then there are some flurries of snow here and there. Much of Russia, in March, is covered in slush from the melting snow which disguises the true beauty of the landscape. This isn’t to say that slush or snow should dictate the time of your visit but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re looking to visit when it’s warm and sunny.
Given the size of the country, temperatures in each city of Russia vary during spring, with Astrakhan proving to be the warmest in May. Irkutsk is one of the coldest cities in Russia throughout the year with temperatures hardly rising above 22 degrees in the summer. March sees very cold temperatures throughout much of Russia, but the weather does improve in places during April and May to unveil days without a bitter chill.
The season of “dacha”
Springtime marks the season of “dacha”, when many residents take time out to visit their country retreats. A dacha is the Russian term for a seasonal or year-round second home. Often springtime is the ideal time to make use of them. This time of year allows residents to feel closer to nature and take time for themselves and their families. Barbecues and picnics are among some of the popular family activities enjoyed when people go to their dacha in the countryside.
Public holidays and festivals
There are some popular and important public holidays and festivals in Russia during the spring. On 1st May people gather to celebrate Labour Day, a holiday which used to feature parades in many of Russia’s cities.
9th May is Victory Day, a day when Russia celebrates the war efforts of their country in the Second World War. It is by far one of the most popular public holiday in Russia. A military parade is held in Moscow on the day to pay tribute to war veterans and in memory of the many soldiers who lost their lives in the war. Usually there is a spectacular firework display to be enjoyed in the evening.
Maslenitsa celebrates the end of winter and the coming of spring. Maslenitsa translates as pancake week and revolves around the bliny pancake which symbolises the round, warm and golden sun. It is usually celebrated between February and March so is worth looking out for if you visit Russia in the very early spring. Maslenista begins on a Monday, which is the ‘meeting’ day, which is then followed by ‘fun’ on Tuesday, ‘sweet tooth’ on Wednesday, ‘feast’ on Thursday, ‘visiting mother-in-law’ on Friday, ‘visiting sister-in-law’ on Saturday, and, finally, culminates with a ‘farewell’ ‘forgiveness day’ on the Sunday.
Of course, there are plenty of things to see and do in Russia throughout the year, such as trying the wonderful Russian cuisine. Each city has an array of attractions and landmarks to visit and explore. Most attractions and landmarks are perfect for year-round visits but some events take place, more specifically, in spring. One of the main events of the Russian spring is the Moscow Garden Show, taking place between the 13-16 Mar 2014, where all sorts of attractions from landscapes to aqua designs are showcased. Visitors can explore the beautiful gardens in and around the show.