Birthday traditions in Russia
All over the world there are different birthday traditions. Every country has its twist on celebrating this special day. It is common around the world to give some presents and sing the “Happy Birthday” song, but Russia has some different ways of celebrating too.
The length of the message
All over Europe it is getting more and more common to just send a short text with “happy birthday” to the person celebrating. But in Russia this is completely different. Here it is a little rude to send such short texts to the person whose birthday it is. Russian friends will send you a really long text on your birthday and expect this from you on their birthday too.
Песенка Крокодила Гены
This is a special song sung to kids on their birthday. It is not that well known for people our age, but younger kids will know the song from a cartoon. It is famous, but it tells a sad story about birthdays only happening once a year. This song is so well known because of the famous tv series “Cheburashka”.
Presents for the mother
It is common in Russia to get some flowers if it is a girl celebrating… if it’s a guy you don’t have to give him flowers. It’s also good manners to give flowers to the mother of the person celebrating. Russian culture focuses a lot on good manners and behaviour, so it is important to respect the parents.
Toast to the family
Russians are also very well known for their drinking. For every round of alcohol it’s common to make a toast. When someone celebrates their birthday, they choose a spokesperson to make toasts for the whole night. It is also good practice to honour the parents in the second toast.
Russia is full of traditions and superstitions. If you’re celebrating your birthday it’s common to have some older friends or relatives pull on your ears. They pull upwards to make sure that you will grow taller. The tradition is not that well known in the younger generation but you will still see some Russian people do it today.
Don’t do that
If you’re not able to make it to the birthday celebration, do not send birthday wishes in advance. In Russia this is a bad omen. That said, if you’re the first person to wish your friend a happy birthday, they will remember it as it shows you were thinking about them. Another tradition in Russia is to not celebrate your 40th birthday, as it is a bad luck.
To sum up I’d recommend everybody to experience celebrating their birthday with some Russian friends in Russia. Or if that is not possible try and make some Russian friends and celebrate their birthday here…and don’t forget about the family of the person celebrating!