A decorated Christmas tree, a lavish table with many dishes and champagne at midnight – all this is about the traditions of celebrating the New Year in Ukraine. Since the early times, one of the most important Ukrainian traditions of New Year’s celebration has been singing schedrivky. Children go from house to house alone or in groups, sing symbolic songs or read poems with wishes of happiness, health and development of the household, and in exchange receive cookies, sweets or some small money from the owners of the house. In 2023, January 1 fell on Sunday, and the following Monday was supposed to be a day off. However, January 2, 2023 was a working day because of the cancellation of holidays due to martial law.
Christmas in Ukraine is usually celebrated on January 7 according to the Julian calendar, but some people may celebrate it on December 25 according to the Gregorian calendar. The celebration begins on January 6 with the so-called Holy Evening – families gather at the table, which should consist of 12 fasting dishes. The morning of January 7 begins with the phrase: “Christ is born!”, which is usually answered with: “Praise Him!”. January 7 is a public holiday, which is a non-working day. You can read more about Christmas celebrations in Ukraine and traditions here.
International Women’s Day
On February 28, 1908, 15 thousand women in New York protested, demanding shorter working hours, higher wages and the right to vote. The date of March 8 came to the international left movement from Russia. In 1917, on this day, a strike of weaving factory workers in Petrograd demanding “Bread and Peace!” began, which grew into a revolution. In 1975, the UN General Assembly proclaimed March 8 as a day to celebrate the achievements of women in all spheres of life and protest against inequality. Part of the population of Ukraine considers March 8 a legacy of Soviet times, but the majority celebrates this holiday. Women are given flowers and gifts on this day both at home and at work, and sales of flower shops double or even triple on this day.
Easter in Ukraine, as well as in the Czech Republic, is not celebrated on the same date every year. The date of celebration is calculated according to the lunar calendar. This holiday can fall on the period from April 4 to May 8. In 2023, Easter will be celebrated in Ukraine on April 16, which will be a day off. Preparation for the Easter begins 7 weeks before the holiday, when the Great Fast starts. This is one of the longest fasts of Christians, which calls for abstaining from food of animal origin. The Great Fast in 2023 will last from February 27 to April 15. Usually, for Easter in Ukraine, all households bake Paska according to their own family recipe, which then, along with pysanky, believers take to church to consecrate. As well as during the Christmas, there is a traditional Easter greeting in Ukraine: “Christ is Risen!”, which must be answered: “Truly He is Risen!”.
On May 1, in Ukraine and many other countries of the world, the struggle of hired workers for their rights is remembered. In 1888, May 1 was declared the Day of the national struggle for workers’ rights. The following year at the International Congress of Workers’ Parties this day was chosen to organize an international demonstration. In 1890 the protests were joined in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy and France. The action was also held in Lviv. Since this day gives Ukrainians a day off, they often arrange themselves a vacation for the May holidays. They usually spend it with their families, organize picnics in the open air or travel around the country.
Victory Day over Nazism in World War II
Starting from 2016, Ukraine celebrates the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II. With the adoption of laws on decommunization, this holiday replaced the Victory Day holiday, which was celebrated in the USSR, and then in Ukraine until 2015 included. The official symbol of the celebration of the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II is the red poppy flower – a globally accepted symbol of commemoration of the Second World War.
One of the main Orthodox holidays, which symbolizes the trinity of God. According to the legends, Jesus Christ foretold that the Holy Spirit would descend to the Earth. This event demonstrated to believers the existence of three persons of one God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Every year the Trinity Sunday, as well as Easter, is celebrated at different times. The date of the holiday depends on Easter – in 2023, believers will celebrate it on April 16. From this day we need to count 50 days and then we will know when to celebrate the Trinity Sunday. In 2023, the holiday falls on June 4.
Constitution Day of Ukraine
On June 28, 1996, the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada adopted and enacted the Constitution of Ukraine. This happened on the fifth year after the declaration of independence of Ukraine. The Constitution of Ukraine defined strong presidential power, guaranteed private property rights, approved new state symbols, the status of the Ukrainian language as the only state language, and recognized Crimea as an autonomous republic within Ukraine. June 28, 2022 was not considered an official holiday due to martial law, but usually Ukrainians have a day off on this occasion.
Day of Ukrainian statehood
On May 31, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a law establishing the Statehood Day of Ukraine on July 28 as a public holiday. This is a new state holiday, which is celebrated on the day of the baptism of Kyjevská Rus – Ukraine. The holiday draws attention to the fact that Ukrainian statehood is not 30, but more than 1000 years old, and the concept of the Day of Statehood of Ukraine is based on the idea of affirming the connection of Ukrainians through centuries and generations.
Independence Day of Ukraine
The main state holiday of Ukraine, which was established on August 24, 1991 in honor of the adoption the Act of Independence of Ukraine and separation from the USSR. It is a very important historical date for Ukrainians, which is usually celebrated with military parades, festivals and concerts. Ukrainians wear traditional clothes – embroidered shirts, and actively use the Ukrainian flag and symbols in their apparel. The largest celebrations are usually held in the capital of Ukraine – Kyiv.
Ukrainian Defender Day
The need for a national holiday to celebrate the defenders of Ukraine became especially relevant after the Russian occupation of Crimea and the outbreak of hostilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in 2014. That is why the ex-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko established the Ukrainian Defender Day on October 14, 2014 and abolished the celebration of the Defender of the Fatherland Day on February 23, known in the Soviet times as the “Day of the Soviet Army and Navy”.