Flowers in Russia are a big deal. If you’re in Russia, you have to know how and when to give flowers, especially if you are a man. Russian women love flowers; it isn’t a stereotype. There are also some circumstances when men are gifted flowers, but it’s uncommon. Therefore, this article is generally about giving flowers to Russian women. For more help with Russian women, check out our article on 7 Cultural Differences when Dating Russian Women.

There are a few things that you must keep in mind when giving flowers in Russia. If you take nothing else from this article, remember these two rules:

  • You can NEVER give too many flowers. 
  • Always give an odd number of flowers. 

With these two rules in mind, you will be all set. But if you want to go above and beyond, keep reading. 

How to Send Flowers to Russia from Abroad

If you are reading this, chances are you need to send flowers to someone special in Russia. Thankfully, in 2021, it is much easier than it used to be. The best site to use to guarantee delivery is Florists’ Transworld Delivery. They have a decent selection of flowers priced well if you are in the US. They also have a worldwide reputation. We highly recommend their service if you aren’t in Russia. 

Flower Etiquette in Russia

As we mentioned, you need to follow a few rules to ensure you do not offend anyone when you gift flowers as a gift in Russia. It isn’t as hard as you think to remember the essential rules. Let’s take a look at the two most important aspects first. 

Who to Give Flowers in Russia

Sometimes it is pretty confusing who you should gift flowers in Russia. The most important people are your wife or girlfriend and any of her immediate relatives. Her mom and grandmother are most important. If you are a female with a Russian spouse, taking flowers to his mom will always impress her. 

Generally, in a work situation, the team will chip in for flowers whenever a female coworker deserves them. For example, every year on International Women’s day, all the men in a company will chip in to buy flowers for all of their female colleagues. If a colleague has a baby or a significant life accomplishment, it is customary that the team buys flowers together. 

Russians will rarely expect that you give flowers to someone who isn’t close to you. Of course, use your best judgment. Thankfully, as a foreigner in Russia, expectations are low regarding cultural awareness. 

Never Too Many Flowers

Depending on where you’re from, one of the first things you will notice is how ubiquitous flowers are in Russia. You can buy flowers seemingly on every street corner, even in smaller Russian cities. 

There is a reason for all of these flower shops. Russians love to give flowers as a gift, and they love to gift flowers often. If you have spent any time in Russia, you will see men carrying massive bouquets across the city, especially around certain holidays. We are talking about more than 100 roses in a single bouquet.

Russian women always love to receive flowers as a gift, and it will go a long way towards bridging the cultural divide if you embrace this tradition. 

You don’t need to give flowers every week, but remembering each holiday and gifting flowers will make a massive difference in your relationship. It simply shows cultural understanding—many expats in Russia attempt to bring flower etiquette from their countries to relationships with Russian women. Don’t make the mistake of doing this, but if you do, don’t worry; your Russian girlfriend will remind you that in Russia, it is different.

Number of Flowers 

If you are a foreigner in Russia, and especially if you’re from the US, an essential aspect of flowers to keep in mind is the number of flowers you give. 

In the US, it is common to buy a dozen roses or ten flowers. In Russia, giving an even number of flowers is reserved for funerals. Buying an even number of flowers is a massive mistake and a cultural faux pas. Only Russian women that have lived abroad will understand this mistake, and they will forgive you (for the first time, maybe).

Color 

flower shop in Russia

There are no hard and fast rules about which color of flowers to buy in Russia. If you know which color the recipient likes, purchase that color. You will find that on certain holidays Russians tend to favor specific colors. For example, on International Women’s Day, pastel colors of yellow, pink, and white are standard.

The people working at flower shops are fantastic sources of advice. If you speak Russian, just ask for help. You can try speaking English, but it will likely only work at expensive flower shops. 

What Types of Flowers 

Typically when you buy flowers for your Russian girlfriend, she will not be picky about which flowers you buy. If you’re unsure, just buy what you think she will like the first time. Afterward, it is easy to ask her what she wants in the future. If you do ask, though, make sure to remember what she said! There is nothing worse than asking what she likes and buying the wrong flowers the next time.

For other women in your life (her mother or sisters), they will simply be happy that you bought flowers regardless of color. They will never criticize you for purchasing the wrong colored flowers; it is the thought that counts after all.

While you can’t buy them, RBTH did a great article on the rarest and most beautiful flowers you can find in Russia

Different Occasions to Give Flowers in Russia

You will quickly find out that Russians give flowers on just about any occasion. This tradition may seem overwhelming, but just stepping outside on holiday like International Women’s Day will be a perfect reminder that you need to buy flowers. Every female in Russia will have flowers on March 8. Do NOT forget to give the Russian women in your life flowers on International Women’s Day. 

The most important holidays to remember to give flowers are the following:

  • Birthdays
  • March 8 – International Women’s Day
  • February 14 – Valentine’s Day
  • Weddings and Anniversaries 
  • Graduation from university
  • Mother’s Day (it is on a different day in Russia)
  • Professional Holidays (In Russia, there are informal holidays for almost every profession.)

Other Times to Gift Flowers in Russia

There are some other occasions when people give flowers in Russia. Let’s look at each of them. 

Giving Flowers on a Date in Russia

Many people wonder, should I bring flowers to a first date in Russia? It depends on who you ask and in which city. As a general rule, you should not bring flowers to a first date in Russia. Just ten years ago, we would have advised bringing flowers to a first date. Times are changing, and first dates in Russia are a bit less formal. If you’re in a smaller Russian city, it may still make sense to bring flowers to a first date. Alternatively, if the woman is over 40, you should bring flowers to a first date. When in doubt, you can ask a Russian friend you trust if you’re unsure. 

When deciding whether to bring flowers to future dates, think about logistics. It can be awkward for the girl if there isn’t a place to keep them while you’re on a date. For example, never bring flowers to a date where you will be walking around or doing something strenuous. If you do buy them, be prepared to carry them the whole time.

For future dates with a Russian woman, just use common sense; if it isn’t a hassle, bring flowers. 

Visiting Russians in Their Home

It is customary in Russia to bring a small gift when you’re a guest. If you are visiting Russians in their home and there will be women, it is thoughtful to get flowers, especially when you see your in-laws or girlfriend’s parents for the first time. You can also buy a different small gift like a bottle of wine.  

Hospitals 

When visiting a woman in a hospital in Russia, just like in many other countries, you should bring flowers. 

Funerals 

Going to a funeral in Russia is the only time to buy an even number of flowers. There is no requirement to bring flowers to a Russian funeral, but it never hurts. 

Conclusion

We hope that this guide to flower etiquette in Russia was helpful. If you just observe other Russians and have a good Russian friend, you should have no trouble knowing when to give flowers in Russia. If you want to learn more about Russian culture, you can check out the rest of our blog posts or head over to our YouTube channel, An Expat’s Russia.

I lived in Russia for 5 years. Over those 5 years, I started a few companies, worked as an English teacher, worked at a large Russian tech company, and worked at an international law firm. I want to share my experience living and working abroad so you can do the same!

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