Holiday is not an institution of leisure or entertainment; it is a special form of social existence, which arose in the early stages of sociogenesis. It is the opposite of “work”, another fundamental form of social self-organization. This opposition manifests itself in many cultures and religions in the ban to work on public holidays.

The author traces a permanent association of holiday with intoxicating substances which played an important role in the development of cultures. Holiday generates a type of legitimate power caused by ability to ecstatic behavior. Immersing participants of a ritual into a trance, leaders strengthened collective identity, confronting destructive tendencies caused by “work”.

The realization of the festive drinking archetype is explored on the basis of Russian culture. The author identifies meanings, symbols and values that are held in it for the fore seeable history of the Russian society.

Keywords: holiday, labor, society, culture, power, festive drinking, drinking practices.