This guide was written prior to Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine and is therefore not reflective of the current situation. Travel to Russia is currently not advisable due to the area's volatile political situation.
There is always something happening in Moscow. It is a vibrant city that hosts an array of cultural festivals throughout all seasons of the year. On top of cultural and traditional events in Moscow, there are also music and film festivals. There’s something for everyone in the Russian capital, and expats won't struggle to find an event that's right up their alley.
Expats in Moscow should keep an eye out for the following annual events.
Annual events in Moscow
Maslenitsa Festival (February/March)
As a prelude to Lent and in celebration of the end of winter and the start of spring, the Maslenitsa Festival encourages locals and expats to indulge in as many delicious golden pancakes as possible. They can also enjoy puppet shows, masquerades and sleigh-riding.
Moscow International Film Festival (April)
The Moscow International Film Festival screens 200 films from 50 different countries each year. Prizes are given to the best films, with the winner receiving the Golden George – a statue of St George slaying a dragon. For expats interested in film and media, this is a chance to see an incredible showcase of films and should certainly not be missed.
Taste of Moscow (June)
This three-day event sees Moscow's top restaurants host masterclasses and tastings for the whole family. Both Russian and international food is celebrated, along with drinks and music, to create a festive atmosphere throughout the event.
Wild Mint Folk Festival (June)
Folk music from all over the world is enjoyed at this event each summer. Russian and international musicians perform a range of folk-based genres, and festivalgoers can also visit the array of food stalls and markets at the event. Body and soul workshops are also hosted for those that are interested in attending.
Afisha Picnic (August)
The Afisha Picnic is one of the oldest and best known music festivals in Russia. It's held in the gardens of Kolomenskoye, a former Tsar’s estate on the banks of the Moscow River. It attracts both Russian and international bands and performers who play to the crowds on big stages throughout the day.
Unity Day (November)
Unity Day, also known as the day of Accord and Reconciliation, is a national public holiday in Russia. In Moscow, celebrations are held in the Red Square and around the Kremlin, and involve parades and fireworks as well as patriotic ceremonies, songs, speeches and flag hoisting.
Russian Winter Festival (December/January)
The Russian Winter Festival is held over the Christmas and New Year period to celebrate the best of Russian culture. It takes place all over the city and thousands of fairy lights are put up in celebration. The festival features an array of Russian cuisine and vodka for people to enjoy. Entertainment consists of performances of traditional folk music and dances, while ice-skating, sledding and troika (sleigh) rides are also available for those seeking some fun.