May holidays vocab

May holidays vocab

with 2 Comments

The beginning of May is a time renowned for picnics and parades. May 1st, Labor Day, has been around in various forms for ages (USSR’s International Workers’ Day, pre-1917 May Day). Nowadays most people mark the public holiday by escaping for an afternoon into nature. A short week later it’s time for День Победы, Victory Day, which usually means parades, fireworks, and public festivities.

Here’s the front page of a local supermarket flyer during this holiday week-


The word майовка is frequently heard at the beginning of May. To a Russian-speaker, майовка conjures up images of spring, friends, family, and picnics.

Just to be extra confusing, there’s also the nearly-identical word маёвка… which appears to mean the same thing. Native speakers, help please! : )

Google search for майовка:


Google search for маёвка:


Looks like the same holiday to me!



If someone suggests “Поехали на майовку!” to you, grab some beer and take them up on their offer!

Of course, your friends will remind you to мариновать мясо (marinate the meat) or buy the pre-prepared kind from the local meat shop. Once your group arrives at the picnic spot, the gender roles are clearly specified: the men set off to gather дрова (firewood) and mess around with the уголь (coal) while the women моют овощи (wash veggies) and все готовят (set everything up). Then it’s шашлык (shish kebab) time and a few friends will take charge of putting the говядина (beef), свинина (pork), or баранина (lamb) on the шампуры (skewers).





Как майовку проведешь? (How will you spend the May holidays?) Click here to see how we провели майовку in 2012 in Kharkiv, Ukraine– it was lots of fun!

2 Responses

  1. Valentina
    | Reply

    Правильно “маёвка”

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Спасибо за ссылки, Валентина! Does that mean майовка is purely Ukrainian? The Russian speakers I asked in Ukraine spelled it this way, but maybe it’s borrowed from Ukrainian…?

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