Russian Culture & Customs

Zack Raidl A2

Main Agricultural Products

  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Pork
  • Cheese
  • Sausage
  • Beets

Native Customs and Beliefs

  • Strangers are introduced by their last names
  • It is impolite to talk to an elder with you hands in your pocket
  • Many gestures are believed to be unlucky
  • Giving gifts is a strong tradition



Originally a pagan holiday that celebrated the end of winter and the beginning of spring but now incorporates the Orthodox worship as a celebration a week before the beginning of Lent. Russians celebrate Maslenitsa with dances, songs, and festivals. They will eat pancakes because it symbolizes the sun, which is round, yellow, and hot.
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Yssyakh (Pagan New Year)

Celebrated on June 21, Yssyakh is a holiday celebrated by the Russian Pagans who are located mainly in Siberia. They celebrate by wearing traditional costumes, drinking kumis (fermented mare's milk), and participating in traditional dances. People also throw buttered fritters and horse hair onto an open fire to symbolize their appreciation for the sun and gratitude that they endured the long winter.


Largest Muslim holiday which commemorates Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrafice his son Ismail. During this celebration, Russian Muslims go to cemeteries to pray for those who have passed away. When they return home, they sacrifice animals such as camels, cows, sheep, or goats. They also often share the meat with the poor. People often exchange presents during the celebrations.



Shchi is a cabbage soup that has been apart of the Russian culture for over a thousand years and has no social class boundary. Shchi is prepared for both the rich, who may have the money to prepare more expensive dishes, and the poor who sometimes just have cabbage and onions. This cabbage soup can be eaten regularly, and at any time of the year.


  1. Cabbage
  2. Meat (Very Rarely fish or Mushrooms)
  3. Carrots, basil, and parsley roots
  4. Spicy Herbs (Onions, Celery, Dill, Garlic, Pepper, and Bay Leaf
  5. Sour Components (Smetana, apples, Sauerkraut, and Pickle water)

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Pelmeni is a traditional Eastern European dish that is believed to have been taught from the Finnic and Tatar people of the Taiga, the Urals, and Siberia. The word means "ear-shaped bread" in Finnic languages. In Siberia they were made in large quantities and stored safely frozen outside for several winter months.


  1. Dough (made of flour and eggs, sometimes with milk or water added)
  2. Meat (Pork, Lamb, Beef, or all three)
  3. Spices (Pepper, Onions, and Garlic)

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Pirozhki are small stuffed buns made of either yeast dough or short pastry. Pirozhki are different from other pies because the fillings used are almost invariably fully cooked. Chopped hard-boiled eggs are also present in the fillings.


  1. Chopped boiled meat mixed with sauteed onions
  2. Rice and boiled eggs with dill
  3. Fish sauteed with onions and mixed with hard-boiled chopped eggs and rice
  4. Mashed potatoes mixed with dill and green onion
  5. Sauteed cabbage
  6. Sauteed mushrooms with onions and sometimes carrots

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Shashlyk is a form of Shish kebab popular in former Soviet Union countries. These kebabs did not reach Moscow until the late 19th century and from there they began to spread; by the 1910's they were a staple in St. Petersburg restaurants and by the 1920's they were already a pervasive street food all over urban Russia.


  1. All types of Meat
  2. Vegetables (Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, and Tomato)

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Russian Beef Stroganoff

The dish originated in Russia in the 19th century and was named after some member of the large and important Stroganov family, perhaps Alexander Grigorievich Stroganoff or Count Pavel Stroganov.


  1. Beef
  2. Egg Noodles
  3. Onioins, Mushrooms, and Parsley
  4. Sour Cream
  5. Beef Stock
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DILL - a fernlike leaf that is aromatic and is used to flavor many foods such as soups and pickles.

PARSLEY - a curly leaf that is used often as a garnish or used as a decoration.

BLACK PEPPER - used for their pungent flavor and to stimulate the digestive juices, increase appetite, and aids digestion.

CLOVES - a dried flower bud used to add flavor to many dishes and also some varieties of Russian brandy and liqueur.

ONIONS - are often chopped and used as an ingredient to bring out the flavor in various hearty warm dishes.