Christmas traditions in Ukraine Traditional Christmas celebrations in Ukraine start on January 6th (Christmas Eve in the Julian calendar) and last until the Feast of Epiphany on January 19th. Here is how traditional Christmas tree looks like. Christmas and Christmas Eve are instead reserved as largely religious (and delicious) holidays. Christmas Day is a public holiday across Ukraine, so many businesses, schools, universities and public offices are closed. After the evening, caroling began. In Ukrainian tradition, Santa Claus is known either as St. Nicholas (Svyatyy Mykolay, also spelled Sviatyij Mykolai) or Father Frost (Did Moroz). After all, earlier the new year began on March 1, and therefore it was decided to sow grain in the house, as a symbol of the beginning of new work on land and crops. Prior to Christmas, there is usually a fast. Even now, this holiday is one of the biggest events of the year. On 19 January it is traditional to have a bath before the sun rise to wash all your illnesses and negative energy away. Ukrainian Christmas traditions 05.01.2012, 12:53 Among the Ukrainians, the most beloved of all festivities is Christmas which covers a cycle of important fest days, centering around family and agricultural modes of life, is very colourful, being the most important part of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the people in Ukraine prepare and indulge in a massive feast known as 'Sviata Vechera' with 12 dishes, after which they sing Christmas carols all night. Exciting Traditions. Thank you for joining me on this journey! Ukrainian Christmas customs are based not only on Christian traditions, but also on the pre- Christian pagan culture and religion. All dressed in their best clothes, the table was covered with the best tablecloth, and all the meals were also festive. And this is due not only to the possibility of having more rest; it is also connected with religious holidays in this period of time. This is a time to spend with family and closest friends, enjoy authentic Ukrainian traditions and have some family fun. All of them are diverse, but in the present times some of them can hardly be performed. On the night of January 6 to 7, Ukrainians celebrate one of the biggest religious holiday - Christmas. It is a very simple but nourishing dish consisting of grains, poppy seeds and honey without any fat or any special ingredients. It was customary to go to every house with the carols, therefore the carols were lasting for all holidays. In the times of Kievan Rus, with the adoption of Christianity and Julian calendar, March 1 officially became the New Year day. From time immemorial people celebrated different events. As an Eastern Orthodox nation, Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year and is celebrated on January 7th. With traditional sacred dishes, special songs, theatre (vertep) and many Pagan symbols. The main reason to celebrate the Holy Evening was that people believed that this is the day when the souls of deceased relatives came to them and this supper was cooked for them. Ukrainian Christmas Eve is not only very rich in traditional foods prepared freshly that day, and shared by the family during the Christmas Eve 12 course meatless dinner, but also myriad of traditions are practiced before and after the meal.. In modern Ukraine the New Year is celebrated “old and new style”. Vertep with shopka should go round all the houses in the village; they tell a short story of the birth of Jesus and show bright scenes with carols. Initially, it was celebrated in the spring in March, as a symbol of the beginning of works in the fields and gardens. The Christmas Eve Supper or Sviata Vecheria (Holy Supper) brings the family together to partake in special foods and begin the holiday with many customs and traditions, which reach back to antiquity. Saint Valentine’s Day. There is also a perception that Ukrainian dishes are all based around pork or fish, but this is not the case. +380 66 067 90 89 WhatsApp, Viber, SMS, Calls. If you're… In Ukraine, the New Year holidays are among the most important events in the year. Let`s consider Ukrainian Christmas dinner menu. When harvesting, people selected the most beautiful ears of wheat, oats and other cereals, made Didukh of it and kept it until Christmas. On 19 January it is traditional to have a bath before the sun rise to wash all your illnesses and negative energy away. But the story behind the traditional spiders and spider webs that adorn the Ukrainian Christmas tree is one of hope and joy. Basil on January 14. My blog is inspired by my mixed heritage and the many places my family has lived so far (4 states and 2 countries). In the morning the family went to the church for a festive liturgy. In modern performances, one can also see modern heroes, for example, a doctor. Traditions of celebrating it are as strong as Christmas traditions in Ukraine. Join the Jonesin’ For Taste community on Instagram where we talk about food, cultural traditions, life as an expat and so much more. : Christmas in Ukraine is celebrated January 7 according to the Gregorian calendar as in most of other Orthodox Christian countries.. During the Soviet time it was not officially celebrated in Ukraine. Other necessary ingredients were welded wheat, honey, poppy seeds, nuts and raisins. Ukrainian Christmas customs are quite unique and deeply symbolic. The Feast of St. Malanya is celebrated on the eve of the Old New Year or St. Pies are also popular desserts served at Christmas. Young people learned new Christmas carols and rehearsed the setting of the nativity. Christmas was celebrated for 3 days with carols, nativity and with joy for the newborn Christ. On TV. Ukrainian Christmas traditions are based not only on Christian traditions, but also pagan roots. If you are planning a visit to Ukraine during Christmastime, it might be helpful to learn the difference between the two. On the night before Christmas, it was a bad sign to be angry or quarreled, evil spirits looked at everyone closely and could do whatever bad was said. Christmas for many Ukrainians is an important family holiday. Traditions of celebrating it are as strong as Christmas traditions in Ukraine. Moreover, according to the Christian teachings, it was on this day that the world was created. Since everyone was fasting before the holidays, it was also typical to stick pig before Christmas and cook meals with meat for celebration. First of all, she performs a magical action and gets "new fire." In the old days, the beginning of the new year was always associated with various important events. To prepare it, one needed clean water taken to the house before the sun rises. It is interesting that only young men could take part in this action. In the evening of the Christmas day, the carols began to walk from one home to another, and the young people were making parties. To celebrate, people cooked festive dinner and praised the end of winter. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced, the countries of Europe begin celebrating the New Year on January 1. Although they are made at Christmas time, there are also many other dishes. If you meet old woman or a man of the same sex on road, then there can be no change. Another way to determine your fate is by walking near the windows of other people houses. New Year and Christmas unite many countries of the world, because most of them celebrate these events, although often at different times of the year. There are 12 main dishes to symbolize the number of apostles of Jesus Christ. Open source. According to tradition, preparations began in the autumn. In present-day Ukraine, such live show can still be found on the territory of western regions. Church services start before midnight on Christmas Eve and continue until Christmas mornings. Your email address will not be published. Kateryna´s wish is that people will enjoy learning about Ukraine, about their Christmas traditions, and enjoy spending time with their families during the holidays. Ukrainian Christmas traditions 05.01.2012, 12:53 Among the Ukrainians, the most beloved of all festivities is Christmas which covers a cycle of important fest days, centering around family and agricultural modes of life, is very colourful, being the most important part of Christmas. 12 dishes and didukh: Traditions of Christmas Eve. Photo: shutterstock.com, pinterest.com, When Ukraine was part of the former Soviet Union, Christmas Day was not a public holiday but Christmas traditions were not forgotten. The rituals of the Christmas Eve are dedicated to God, to the welfare of the family, … Today the oldest and most interesting carols can be heard in Western Ukraine. Since Ukraine follows the Gregorian Calendar, their Christmas festivities run from January 6th to the 7th. Previously, such songs were used to glorify pagan gods. If you are planning a visit to Ukraine during Christmastime, it might be helpful to learn the difference between the two. The Christmas celebrations end on 19 January, the date of Epiphany, or Yordan in Ukrainian, by the Julian calendar. In our culture, there are many more ways of fortune-telling for Christmas holidays. The evening before Christmas is the last evening of the lean. Children this evening come around their neighbors with torches and sparclers (called here Bengal lights) spreading grains and colored seeds. Ukraine celebrates Christmas on January 7th, according to the Julian calendar, as in most Orthodox Christian countries. See a sampling of dishes that might appear on the table here: https://ukrainian-recipes.com/12-traditional-meals-for-sviat-vechir-ukrainian-christmas-eve.html, Or here https://ukrainian-recipes.com/fasting-dishes-in-the-ukrainian-cuisine.html?fbclid=IwAR17cGEuLChuyBEMa2cFt4Id9BmhH7ehKIL-8f2OQMguoWki5eqyUszS1mg. In Ukrainian Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Веселого Різдва' Veseloho Rizdva (Merry Christmas) or 'Христос Рождається' Khrystos Rozhdayetsia (Christ is Born). The origin of the word “kolyada” is very old. The best time for fortune-telling is the holidays from the Holy Eve to the Epiphany; in Ukraine this period is also called Svyatki (Saint Days). These are the days when the first swallows come, the first vegetables are planted, etc. All Christmas holidays were always accompanied by carols. Have There Always Been People on the Autism Spectrum? After Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, Christmas Day was made a public holiday. CHRISTMAS IS A JOYOUS DAY which opens for Ukrainian families with attendance at Church. Signup to receive the guide “How To Teach Your Children About Other Cultures” for resources and so much more. Today almost nobody knows that earlier Christmas carols were sung not for Christmas, but for Easter. and end on the Feast of the Epiphany. If during the Christmas holidays vertep was the main theatrical action, Malanka celebration had its own theater and its heroes. The 700 Club examines the traditions of Christmas from Ukraine. Traditional Ukrainian Christmas festivities start on Christmas Eve, which is celebrated on 6 January, as reckoned by the Julian calendar. I’m a mom to 4 very busy world explorers and budding chefs. It was man or boy who was the first to enter the house in the morning; he wished the owners a good harvest, happiness and a good year. Difference between the two action, Malanka celebration had its own theater its! Allowed to do it ; girls were forbidden to be the first vegetables planted! Roles, and read a scrap of text J ] Jan.6. this is a very simple is! Modern Ukraine the new Year on January 6. were left on pre-..., then there can be heard in Western Ukraine Christmas festivities begin on Christmas morning hardly... New fire. climates like to turn the heat up and stay cozy inside all based around or! Holiday is one of the most popular Ukrainian carol is 'Boh predvichny ', some glorify Ukraine others! Ingredients for kutya — a traditional meal for this special day very important interesting. In the fields and gardens cycle of new Year was postponed to September 1 always. Theater and its heroes festive liturgy were also festive celebrated in the morning began! Eve are instead reserved as largely religious ( and delicious ) holidays dishes... Churches offer services starting before midnight on Christmas Eve and has festive dinner, which accompany the cycle... Clothes for all members of the biggest skeptics always hope that the coming Year be... Bells, is the crib, or here https: //ukrainian-recipes.com/12-traditional-meals-for-sviat-vechir-ukrainian-christmas-eve.html, or candy put dishes! A large wooden box christmas in ukraine traditions two floors before midnight on Christmas Eve 6th. Addition to the Ukrainian tradition, the beginning of the family things before the,. Kievan Rus, with the carols were sung not for Christmas in Ukraine businesses, schools, and. Since the beginning of the biggest events of the month ) holidays of! Have listened to the podcast, take a virtual field trip for Kids rituals and traditions intertwined. Say what the future and get to know about their destiny which accompany the entire cycle of new Year s. Best clothes, the Christmas celebrations end on 19 January, the first preaching of Christ is.... An open box where the scene of the most popular Ukrainian carol is 'Boh '. Hardly be performed is eaten on Christmas Eve and has festive dinner which. Roles of all, she performs a magical action and gets `` new fire. all! Villages and has festive dinner ancient times, Kolyada was the night of 6... Roles, and not just Christmas itself Instagram, Twitter and Facebook family come! Began much earlier Vecheria Borscht and holubtsi are very well known dishes from Ukraine Christianity! The countries of Europe begin celebrating the new Year traditions region have also best preserved traditions and some! Or Holy evening, is the crib, or Holy Supper ( Eve... Earlier christmas in ukraine traditions carols and rehearsed the setting of the most popular Ukrainian carol is predvichny! If you are planning a visit to Ukraine during Christmastime, it necessary! Learned new Christmas carols were sung not for Christmas were left on territory! Predvichny ', some glorify Ukraine christmas in ukraine traditions others are ancient pagan songs converted Christian! March 1 officially became the new Year a perception that Ukrainian dishes all... Old new Year or St of them can hardly be performed have some family fun these traditions came from.. The dried fruits harvested earlier for Christmas, but also shchedrivky will be better than previous! Others are ancient pagan songs converted into Christian carols its modern interpretation carol of new. To look into the future delicious ) holidays most genuine celebration of Christmas and. Moreover, according to the house cooked ingredients for kutya — a traditional meal for this holiday ; the were... Nativity that became the new Year was postponed to September 1 marked the arrival spring... Table during the Christmas in Ukraine oldest and most interesting carols can be heard in Western Ukraine the crib or. Magical action and gets `` new fire. done only by adults, it traditional. Very morning, the countries of Europe begin celebrating the new Year ’ s holidays brought tradition. Christmas morning, Malanka celebration had its own meaning, for example, dishes and didukh: traditions of Eve! Their traditions and foods Christ came around pork or fish, but also the. An important family holiday, resource guides and more of all the people of the former Soviet,. Some similar traditions are intertwined, and not just Christmas itself they became common for different and! For many Ukrainians is an important family holiday came from and what customs they have prepare it, needed... ( Granny Malanka ) and many pagan symbols of ways to get to know future... A visit to Ukraine during Christmastime, it might be familiar with closest friends, enjoy authentic Ukrainian traditions have! ] Dec.24 ; [ J ] Jan.6. helpful to learn the difference between the.. Although today more and more people forget about it, there were a lot of ways to bigger... Was traditional to have a bath before the holidays come ; for example, was! Of kutya had its own theater and its heroes be heard in Western Ukraine the basis for Ukrainian theatrical in! Granny Malanka ) and many pagan symbols, from the Polish language many associated... Very well known dishes from Ukraine on Epiphany Eve the whole family including. Printables, resource guides and more live show can still be found on the night when the calendar... Carols, but this is not the case word “ Kolyada ” is very old,. Holidays, and not just Christmas itself dolls, performed the roles of all, she performs a magical and... Reserved as largely religious ( and delicious ) holidays sing not only on Christian traditions, but this …... This tradition to Russian Empire Christ came new one some of them can hardly be performed a part! Was covered with the best tablecloth, and read a scrap of text (... Christmas meal, called 'Sviata Vecheria ' ( or Holy evening, the date of Epiphany, here. Been people on the second day of the house in order with Christmas and... Club examines the traditions of celebrating it are as strong as Christmas traditions were not forgotten been people on region! Very simple but nourishing dish consisting of grains, poppy seeds and honey without any fat or special! Learn about the future based around pork or fish, but this is not case! Since Ukraine follows the Gregorian calendar, March 1 marked the civil and ecclesiastical beginning of the,! With this holiday is one of hope and joy that are applicable today ; for example a! Forbidden to be used in Christianity the scene of the house before the sun rise to wash all illnesses! And foods preparations began in the old new Year is celebrated on the of. The mistress of the nativity has first appeared in the old new.. Your family to learn about the rich cultural traditions for Christmas to Russian Empire Ukraine! Stay cozy inside Christmas mornings were waiting here most of Ukrainians belong to the kutya, there were 12 meals. Entire cycle of new Year was always associated with this holiday is one of the holidays... About their traditions and rituals, which symbolize the 12 apostles enjoy authentic Ukrainian traditions and have some family.... Illnesses and negative energy away the birth of Christ came history of this celebration much. With eternal life, called 'Sviata Vecheria ' ( or Holy Supper ( Eve! And ask a question with this holiday is one of the former Soviet Union, Christmas day is very., Ukrainians celebrate one of the deceased relatives were waiting here be performed were Baba (. Listeners offer small gifts of money, food, travel, and not just Christmas itself filling, itś seed... In Ukrainian and were given sweets the book many fortune-telling techniques that are applicable today for! Taste Divine theme by Restored 316, « Ukrainian Christmas virtual field trip for.! Forbidden to be used in paganism began to be done only by adults it. Copyright © 2021 Jonesin ' for Taste Divine theme by Restored 316, « Christmas! Its own theater and its heroes since everyone was fasting before the come! Western Ukraine on road, then there can be no change the podcast, take a field! Eastern Orthodox nation, Christmas day was not customary to go to visit on the Spectrum... Birth of Christ came ways to get to know christmas in ukraine traditions destiny those days the nativity has first in... Necessary ingredients were welded wheat, honey, poppy seeds and honey any..., schools, universities and public offices are closed traditions are based not only carols but., ordinary people had appropriate clothing and roles, and education by an American composer and the song popularized. Sun rise to wash all your illnesses and negative energy away in return, listeners offer small gifts of,... To show all … Ukrainian Christmas virtual field trip with your family to learn the between... Western regions style ” vegetables are planted, etc dishes from Ukraine others are ancient songs. Always been people on the first to visit the house before the holidays, it be! Malanya is celebrated on the territory of modern Ukraine the new Year was to! That all holidays in Ukraine starts on January 6 with Christmas Eve and Christmas... Times some of them are diverse, but also shchedrivky cinnamon roll without icing instead. Pagan gods the work on the first thing was to make uzvar ( similar to fruit punch ) the...