Ukraine Observes Christmas on December 25 for the First Time, Unveiling Notable Details

Christians in Ukraine have joined the rest of the world to celebrate Christmas on Monday, December 25 for the first time. Before today’s celebration, Ukraine celebrated Christmas on 7 January because it used the Julian calendar, also used by Russia, BBC News reported.

Celebrating Christmas on December 25 according to the Gregorian calendar, which it uses in everyday life is a further shift from Russia and its practice.

In 2023, Ukraine marked a significant shift in its cultural and religious practices by celebrating Christmas on December 25 for the first time. This change, a departure from the traditional date of January 7 aligned with the Russian Orthodox Church, symbolizes Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to assert its national identity and distance itself from Russian influence. This historic move was enacted through legislation signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in July, reflecting the country’s response to the Russian invasion and a desire to align more closely with Western European traditions.

Ukraine Observes Christmas on December 25

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which does not recognize the authority of the Russian church, had been granted full recognition in 2019 by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the highest authority in Orthodox Christianity. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, formerly a branch of the Russian church, declared its autonomy from Moscow in 2022 following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war. Despite this, its parishes continue to follow the same liturgical calendar as the Russian church, hence observing Christmas on January 7.

The first celebration of Christmas on December 25 in Ukraine was met with enthusiasm by many citizens. Traditional celebrations were held, including in the village of Kryvorivnia in the Carpathian Mountains, where thousands of worshippers, many dressed in traditional Ukrainian attire, participated in festive activities. The celebrations, however, were tinged with the realities of the ongoing conflict, as many Ukrainians focused on praying for peace and victory.

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This historic change in the celebration of Christmas is seen as an important factor in Ukraine’s self-identification, helping to distinguish itself from Russia amidst the ongoing conflict. It represents not only a change in date but also a significant cultural and symbolic shift for Ukraine as it navigates its path amid challenging times.


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