Tatiana Day (Russian: Татьянин день, Tatyanin den' ) is a Russian religious holiday observed on 25 January according to the Gregorian calendar, January 12 according to the Julian. It is named after Saint Tatiana, a Christian martyr in 3rd century Rome during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus.
In 1755 on the name day of Ivan Shuvalov's mother Tatiana Rodionovna, his mistress Empress Elizabeth of Russia endorsed his petition to establish a university in Moscow. Shuvalov was Minister of Education. The church of Saint Tatiana was later built in the university campus. A traditional service is conducted at the University’s church on 25 January, followed by speeches and the awarding of prizes.
The Russian Orthodox Church declared Saint Tatiana the patron saint of students, and Tatiana Day has come to be celebrated as Russian Students Day. The observance has a long tradition of festive activities. In 1885, Chekhov wrote, "This year everything was drunk, except the water from the Moscow river, and only because it was frozen". Parties begin with a traditional honey-based mead. Although originating in Moscow, St. Tatiana's Day celebrations have spread to most university towns.
Coincidentally 25 January is also the end of the first term of the traditional academic year for Russian students – the end of winter exams session, followed by a two-week winter holiday.