Official holidays in Moldova

List of National Public Holidays that are celebrated in Moldova during 2020 with dates and information on the origin and meaning of holidays.

New Year’s Day

Wed, Jan 1, 2020
When is New Year’s Day?

New Year’s Day is the first day of the year, in the Gregorian calendar, and falls exactly one week after the Christmas Day of the previous year. New Year’s Day is a public holiday in all countries that observe the Gregorian calendar, with the exception of Israel. This makes it the world’s most widely observed public holiday. It is traditionally celebrated with firework displays across the globe at 00:00 in the local time zones.

History of New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day was originally observed on March 15th in the old Roman Calendar. When January and February were added during one of the many attempts to clean up the calendar, they were actually added to the end of the year. The start of the year was fixed on January 1st in 153 BCE, by two Roman consuls. The month was named Janus after the name of the Roman god of doors and gates. Janus had two faces, one facing forward and one looking back, a fitting name for the month at the start of the year.
During the Middle Ages, a number of different Christian feast dates were used to mark the New Year, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December in the Roman fashion. For some parts of Europe, New Year’s Day was determined by Easter, which meant a different New Year’s Day date every year. It wasn’t until 1582 when the Roman Catholic Church officially adopted January 1st as the New Year.Most countries in Western Europe had officially adopted January 1st as New Year’s Day even before they adopted the Gregorian calendar.

Orthodox Christmas Day

Tue, Jan 7, 2020
When is Orthodox Christmas?

The Orthodox Church recognises January 7th as the day that Jesus was born. Elsewhere in the world, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. The difference in the timing of the Christmas celebrations stretches back to 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII, ruled that the Catholic Church should follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was closer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.

History of Orthodox Christmas

The Julian calendar had been established by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Because it was the Catholic pope who ruled on the adoption of the new calendar, many churches not aligned to the papacy ignored it, such as Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox church. Protestants accepted the new calendar in the early 1700s. In 1922, the patriarch of Constantinople decided that the Gregorian calendar should be followed for the observance of Christmas, but not for Easter, and this edict was followed by many of the other Orthodox churches. The only Orthodox churches that still observe the January 7th date are the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian churches, the Serbs and the Mount Athos monks in Greece.

2nd Day of Christmas (Eastern)

Wed, Jan 8, 2020
When is Orthodox Christmas?

The Orthodox Church recognises January 7th as the day that Jesus was born. Elsewhere in the world, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. The difference in the timing of the Christmas celebrations stretches back to 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII, ruled that the Catholic Church should follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was closer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.

History of Orthodox Christmas

The Julian calendar had been established by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Because it was the Catholic pope who ruled on the adoption of the new calendar, many churches not aligned to the papacy ignored it, such as Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox church. Protestants accepted the new calendar in the early 1700s. In 1922, the patriarch of Constantinople decided that the Gregorian calendar should be followed for the observance of Christmas, but not for Easter, and this edict was followed by many of the other Orthodox churches. The only Orthodox churches that still observe the January 7th date are the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian churches, the Serbs and the Mount Athos monks in Greece.

International Women’s Day

Sun, Mar 8, 2020
When is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. 27 countries (mainly former Soviet republics) have adopted International Women’s Day as a national holiday, and it is widely observed in several others. In China since 2014, women are entitled to a half-day holiday for Women’s Day. In Madagascar and Nepal, the day is also an official women-only holiday.

History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was first established at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen. German women’s rights activist and Marxist theorist Clara Zetkin was the one who tabled the idea.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark celebrated the holiday for the first time on March 19th 1911, with the Soviet Union the first to make it a public holiday in 1917. The date of 8th March was adopted internationally in 1921.
In 1977, the United Nations declared 8th March as International Women’s Day, a day each year when the world should celebrate, recognize and remember women and the accomplishments they have made to society. Each year has a theme:

  • 2020: I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.
  • 2019: #BalanceforBetter; a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.
  • 2018: #PressforProgress
  • 2017: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”
  • 2016: “Pledge for Parity”

It is often said that the date chosen for International Women’s Day marks a mass protest that took place in New York on March 8th 1857, when women from sewing and shoe factories demonstrated for the same rights as men. Men had recently won a 10-hour workday, but women had been overlooked in the legislation and left on a 16-hour workday. As a result, 8th March became a traditional day for regular demonstrations in the US and Europe. Given how the holiday began in Russia, a more plausible source for the date is 1917 when Russian women marched to protest for ‘Bread and Peace’ on the last Sunday in February (which was March 8th in the Gregorian calendar in use in the rest of Europe). This march contributed to the Czar abdicating four days later and the new government granted women the right to vote. It would be three years later before women in the US had the same rights.

Orthodox Easter Day

Sun, Apr 19, 2020
When is Orthodox Easter?

Orthodox Easter, also called Greek Easter, is the principal festival of the Orthodox Church. In the bible, it is the day when Mary Magdalene found that an empty tomb in the cave in which Jesus had been placed following his death by crucifixion on the Friday before. It signifies the end of the 40 days of Lent, meaning Christians who gave up something during lent to signify Jesus’ time in the wilderness, can indulge themselves again. In Egypt, Coptic Easter Monday is celebrated on the same day as Orthodox Easter Monday. The day forms part of a wider spring festival called ‘Sham El Nessim’ and is a national holiday. The date is different from Western Easter as the other Christian Churches base the date of calculating Easter on the Gregorian calendar, but the Eastern Orthodox Church still uses the earlier Julian calendar for calculating the dates of festivals, which also includes Easter.

Why is it called Easter?

The name Easter is derived from ‘Ostara’ or ‘Eostre’, a pagan goddess of fertility, whose feast was celebrated on the Vernal Equinox. The word East is also derived from her names, as is Oestrogen, the female hormone.

However, In most languages other than English and German, the holiday’s name is derived from Pesach, the Hebrew name of Passover, a Jewish holiday to which the Christian Easter is intimately linked. Easter depends on Passover not only for much of its symbolic meaning but also for its position in the calendar. The Orthodox church uses the Julian calendar for the calculation of Easter, whereas the Western churches use the Gregorian calendar. This difference can often mean that Orthodox Easter falls later than Easter observed elsewhere. The earliest date it can fall is 4 April and the latest is 8 May.

Easter traditions

Easter Eggs
Modern Easter celebrations revolve around eggs. They may be painted, rolled down hills or eaten if they are of the chocolate variety. The Christian tradition of egg is aid to represent rebirth and resurrection – new life being born from the egg. It’s also been said that egg recalls the shape of the stone that rolled away on Easter Sunday from the tomb that held Jesus’ body. This egg tradition is almost certainly a distillation of a much older pagan custom celebrating spring. The ancient Persians celebrated their new year at the time of the vernal equinox by painting eggs. Its adoption into the Christian traditions would have been quite seamless, as eggs were banned during the period of Lent preceding Easter.

Orthodox Easter Monday

Mon, Apr 20, 2020
When is Orthodox Easter?

Orthodox Easter, also called Greek Easter, is the principal festival of the Orthodox Church. In the bible, it is the day when Mary Magdalene found that an empty tomb in the cave in which Jesus had been placed following his death by crucifixion on the Friday before. It signifies the end of the 40 days of Lent, meaning Christians who gave up something during lent to signify Jesus’ time in the wilderness, can indulge themselves again. In Egypt, Coptic Easter Monday is celebrated on the same day as Orthodox Easter Monday. The day forms part of a wider spring festival called ‘Sham El Nessim’ and is a national holiday. The date is different from Western Easter as the other Christian Churches base the date of calculating Easter on the Gregorian calendar, but the Eastern Orthodox Church still uses the earlier Julian calendar for calculating the dates of festivals, which also includes Easter.

Why is it called Easter?

The name Easter is derived from ‘Ostara’ or ‘Eostre’, a pagan goddess of fertility, whose feast was celebrated on the Vernal Equinox. The word East is also derived from her names, as is Oestrogen, the female hormone.

However, In most languages other than English and German, the holiday’s name is derived from Pesach, the Hebrew name of Passover, a Jewish holiday to which the Christian Easter is intimately linked. Easter depends on Passover not only for much of its symbolic meaning but also for its position in the calendar. The Orthodox church uses the Julian calendar for the calculation of Easter, whereas the Western churches use the Gregorian calendar. This difference can often mean that Orthodox Easter falls later than Easter observed elsewhere. The earliest date it can fall is 4 April and the latest is 8 May.

Easter traditions

Easter Eggs
Modern Easter celebrations revolve around eggs. They may be painted, rolled down hills or eaten if they are of the chocolate variety. The Christian tradition of egg is aid to represent rebirth and resurrection – new life being born from the egg. It’s also been said that egg recalls the shape of the stone that rolled away on Easter Sunday from the tomb that held Jesus’ body. This egg tradition is almost certainly a distillation of a much older pagan custom celebrating spring. The ancient Persians celebrated their new year at the time of the vernal equinox by painting eggs. Its adoption into the Christian traditions would have been quite seamless, as eggs were banned during the period of Lent preceding Easter.

Memorial Easter

Mon, Apr 27, 2020
When is Memorial Easter in Moldova?

Orthodox Easter, also called Greek Easter, is the principal festival of the Orthodox

Memorial Easter is a national holiday in Moldova. It is observed on the eighth day after Orthodox Easter, which means it always falls on a Monday. Called ‘Paştele Blăjinilor’ in Romanian, this holiday is also known as the Easter of the Dead or Memorial Day and Parent’s Day.

The Traditions of Memorial Easter

Despite its date being dependent on Easter and it is being observed as an Orthodox Christian holiday, the origins of this festival are pagan rather than Christian with its roots based on an ancestor festival. On Memorial Easter, families go to church and then on to the cemetery. There, the family graves are cleaned and a meal is eaten with some food intentionally let to fall on the ground as an offering to dead relatives. In pagan times, families would have left eggs on the graves of the dead, symbolising rebirth. When Christianity arrived in the region, rather than suppress the older traditions, the church simply absorbed the rituals into Christian festivals. The egg was an easy one as the date of spring for the ancestor worship festival fell close to Easter and the use of the egg as a symbol of rebirth fitted well with the Easter message of resurrection.

Labor Day

Fri, May 1, 2020
When is Labor Day?

This holiday is most commonly associated as a commemoration of the achievements of the labor movement. The holiday may also be known as International Workers Day or May Day and is marked with a public holiday in over 80 countries.

History of Labor Day

The first May Day celebrations focused on workers took place on May 1st 1890 after its proclamation by the first international congress of socialist parties in Europe on July 14th 1889 in Paris, France, to dedicate May 1st every year as the “Workers Day of International Unity and Solidarity.” The date was chosen due to events on the other side of the Atlantic. In 1884 the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday, to come in effect as of May 1st 1886. This resulted in the general strike and the Haymarket (in Chicago) Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday.

The riots at Haymarket Square in Chicago had begun as peaceful demonstrations over the legal establishment of an eight-hour workday.

At a protest rally on May 4th 1890, a bomb was thrown at the police as they tried to disperse the crowds, resulting in the deaths of several police officers and some civilians.

Though the eight-hour workday was not fully adopted across America until the 20th century, the events in Chicago inspired similar protests across Europe, establishing May 1st as the day to recognize the rights of workers across the world.

May 1st is celebrated as May Day in most countries around the world. In the United Kingdom and Ireland the bank holiday isn’t fixed on May 1st but instead is observed on the first Monday of May. In the 20th century, the holiday received the official endorsement of the Soviet Union, and it is also celebrated as the Day of the International Solidarity of Workers, especially in some Communist states. Celebrations in communist countries during the Cold War era often consisted of large military parades with the latest weaponry being exhibited as well as shows of common people in support of the government. Curiously (given the origin of the 1 May date), the United States celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September (May 1st is Loyalty Day, a legal but not widely recognized holiday in the United States). There is some suggestion that the reason for this was to avoid the commemoration of riots that had occurred in 1886. The adoption of May Day by communists and socialists as their primary holiday has been another reason for the official resistance to May Day labor celebrations in America. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands also celebrate Labor Day on different dates; though that has to do with how the holiday originated in those countries. May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various communist, socialist, and anarchist groups.

Victory Day

Sat, May 9, 2020
When is Victory Day?

On May 9th, Russia and a handful of former Soviet Union republics celebrate Victory Day, which marks the day after Nazi Germany surrendered and Soviet forces took control of Berlin, bringing the second world war (also referred to as ‘The Great Patriotic War’ in Russia) in Europe to an end.

History of Victory Day

The second world war was the deadliest conflict in human history, which saw 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the USSR and China. The Soviet Union alone lost up to 27 million people in the war, nearly 13% of the population at the time. Victory day is about remembering those who gave their lives to achieve the victory. Some countries in Western Europe mark the victory in Europe on May 8th. May 9th was chosen in the Soviet Union, as it was already the next day when the German military surrendered to the Soviet Union and its Allies in Berlin late in the evening of May 8th 1945. May 9th held no special significance between 1948 and 1964. The first military parade took place on May 9th 1965, marking 20 years since the victory over Nazi Germany. This is also when Victory Day became a public holiday in Russia and in 15 Republics of the Soviet Union. A military parade took place in Red Square. Parades were held again in 1985 and 1990, after which they have been held annually. Given the loss of life it remembers, it is generally a solemn and sombre day. It is celebrated by military parades (with the major one taking place in Moscow), concerts, fireworks, recognition of veterans (who usually dress up for the occasion) and food and drink. As it is quite close to May Day, many will take the opportunity to have some extra time off and have a two-week break.

Independence Day of Republic of Moldova

Thu, Aug 27, 2020
When is Moldovan Independence Day?

This public holiday is always celebrated on August 27th. In Romanian, it is called ‘Ziua Independenței’. This is Moldova’s National Day. The day marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from the Soviet Union on August 27th 1991.

History of Moldovan Independence Day

This small land-locked East European nation has always been influenced by the presence of its larger neighbours whose wars and imperial ambitions often had dramatic impacts on the fate of the country. Moldova became a principality in 1359 when Bogdan I crossed the Carpathians and took control from the Hungarians. In the middle of the sixteenth century, it came under the influence of the Ottoman Empire becoming a vassal state, though Moldova retained control of its own affairs.
Following the end of the Russo-Turkish War, the 1812 Treaty of Bucharest ceded the eastern half of Moldavia to the Russian Empire, which was named the region Bessarabia.
In 1918, after the end of the First World War and the collapse of the Russian Empire, Bessarabia united with Romania.
Like other Soviet regions, the movement for independence gathered pace in the late 1980s with the change in the political situation created by glasnost and perestroika. The first democratic elections were held in early 1990. After the failure of the 1991 Soviet coup attempt to remove President Gorbachev, Moldova declared itself an independent and sovereign state on August 27th 1991. Moldova’s Independence was officially recognized on March 2nd 1992 when Moldova became a member of the United Nations.

How is Moldavian Independence Day celebrated?

Moldova’s Independence Day is celebrated with fireworks, concerts and parades. The Moldavian president will address the nation with a patriotic speech. Along with Christmas Day, this is one of the few Moldavian public holidays on which shops will close.

National Language Day

Mon, Aug 31, 2020
When is National Language Day?

National Language Day is a public holiday in Moldova observed on August 31st, the traditional last day of summer. Known as “Limba noastră” (Our Language), it celebrates the state language of Moldova.

History of National Language Day

In 1940, Moldova (then known as Bessarabia) had been occupied by the USSR as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The use of Russian Cyrillic was then imposed as the official alphabet of the newly founded Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR). The majority of Moldavians had been speaking Romanian and the imposition of Cyrillic was seen as an attempt by the Soviets to drive a wedge between Moldova and Romania, forcing closer ties with Russia.
On August 27th 1989, the Popular Front of Moldova organised a mass demonstration of over 300,000 people in the capital Chişinău. This demonstration became known as the Great National Assembly and helped convince the authorities of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to adopt a language law. The language law was passed on August 31st 1989 and proclaimed the Moldoavian language written in the Latin script to be the official state language of the MSSR. The language law also formally proclaimed that Moldavian and Romanian were the same. The Soviets had insisted that Moldavian was a different language from Romanian in order to promote the idea that Moldavians and Romanians were separate nations. On June 23rd 1990 the Moldavian Parliament established August 31st as National Language Day.

How is National Language Day Celebrated?

On National Language Day, the President of the Republic of Moldova will lay flowers at the monument to Stefan cel Mare in the capital, Chişinău. The holiday is seen as a patriotic holiday and second only in importance to Independence Day which takes place a few days before on August 27th.

City Day

Wed, Oct 14, 2020

Chișinău is the capital of the Republic of Moldova. This is a Public Holiday just for people living in Chisinau. Each city and village has its own celebration day.

Christmas Day

Fri, Dec 25, 2020
When is Christmas Day?

On this day, over two billion people (over a third of the world’s population) will celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas Day celebrates the Nativity of Jesus which according to tradition took place on December 25th 1 BC. December 25th will be a public holiday in most countries around the world. If 25 December falls on a weekend, then a nearby weekday may be taken as a holiday in lieu.

History of the holiday

Whilst the holiday has a strong grounding in the story of the birth of Jesus, many of the traditions we associate with Christmas have evolved from pre-Christian beliefs and certainly, the traditions have evolved beyond purely a Christian holiday to have a wider secular significance. The celebration of Christmas in late December is certainly as a result of pre-existing celebrations happening at that time, marking the Winter Solstice. Most notable of these is Yule (meaning ‘Feast’), a winter pagan festival that was originally celebrated by Germanic people. The exact date of Yule depends on the lunar cycle but it falls from late December to early January. In some Northern European countries, the local word for Christmas has a closer linguistic tie to ‘Yule’ than ‘Christmas’, and it is still a term that may be used for Christmas in some English-speaking countries. Several Yule traditions are familiar to the modern celebration of Christmas, such as Yule Log, the custom of burning a large wooden log on the fire at Christmas; or indeed carol singing, which is surprisingly a very ancient tradition. Under the Julian calendar, the winter solstice was fixed on December 25, and this date was also the day of the popular Roman holiday of Saturnalia, in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture; which was later superseded by Sol Invictus, a day that bundled up the celebration of several sun based gods into one easy to manage festival. As Christianity began to take hold across the Roman empire and beyond, the date of when to celebrate the birth of Christ became a bit of an issue, with several different dates proposed.
It wasn’t until 350 AD, when the then Bishop of Rome, Pope Julius I, fixed the official Christmas day on December 25. Unfortunately, Julius, I didn’t show his working out on how he reached this date; some scholars later suggested that it was calculated as nine months after the Annunciation (March 25), when the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary and told her she would bear the son of God. Whatever the reasoning, it is clear that, just as key pagan sites were being chosen for new churches, so too the date was chosen with the intention to catapult Christmas into becoming a major festival by placing it over the pre-existing pagan festivals.
Since 2013, Moldova has officially observed 25 December and 1 January as public holidays in addition to the traditional Moldovan Orthodox Christmas on 7 January. The reason for the two Christmas Days is that Moldova is split between followers of the Moldavian Orthodox Church, which follows the older Julian calendar, and Bessarabian Orthodox Church, which follows the western Gregorian calendar.