Holidays in Ukraine

As you probably know, Ukrainians like holidays a lot. Today we will tell you about the most important secular and religious holidays.

Religious holidays

Різдво́ Christmas (mostly celebrated on January 7)

On this day, Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

All family gather together at a table with 12 lean dishes on it. The 12 dishes symbolize the 12 Apostles. Usual dishes for this eve are кутя́ (kutia), варе́ники (varenyky), голубці́ (holubtsi), тушко́вана капуста (stewed cabbage), кала́ч (Christmas bread) etc.Водо́хреще (Baptism of Jesus Christ (Epiphany, Yordan) – January 19

On this day, Eastern Christian believers commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. A priest blesses the water before believers submerge in an ice hole in a river or lake three times to honour the Holy Trinity. People also take blessed water home and save it till the following year.

Вели́кдень Easter in Ukraine (The Great day) – in April or May Velykden – the day of Jesus Christ Resurrection.

In Ukraine, Easter is a unique holiday and an amazing combination of traditional Christian practices, folklore, and ancient pagan beliefs.

Кра́шанки і пи́санки (сoloured and painted eggs), паски́ (Easter bread), ве́рбні гілочки́ (blessed-willow branches) are the symbols of this holiday.

On Saturday night – Sunday morning, people go to the church for service and bring their Easter baskets. The priest blesses their meals with holy water during the service. After the church, people go to their homes to celebrate and greet each other with the words: “Христо́с Воскре́с!” (Hrystos Voskres!) – “Воі́стину Воскре́с!” (Voistynu Voskres!) (“Christ is Risen!” – “Truly, He is Risen!”).

Іва́на Купа́ла Kupala Night –on the night of July 7 Kupala is a Slavic holiday that Slavs celebrate on the shortest night of the year (21-22 of June (for western Slavic), according to the Julian calendar on the night between 6 to July 7 ( for eastern Slavic ). Thus, the celebration relates to the summer solstice.

People jump over the fire on this night; unmarried girls make wreaths and throw them into the water to guess who will be their fiancé. During the night, everyone goes to a forest to search for the mythical fern flower, which should bring good luck, strong health, and wealth to the one who finds it.

Secular holidays:

Нови́й рік New Year’s Day – January 1      It is one of the favourite holidays for Ukrainians. In Ukraine, people decorate New Year’s Tree before January 1 and then leave it till the end of February.

On New Year’s Eve, people usually give presents to each other, have a big dinner together with family and friends. Then, at Midnight, people open champagne bottles, raise a toast, and shoot off fireworks. День вишива́нки The Embroidered Shirt Day – on the third Thursday of May

Vyshyvanka Day is not a public holiday but is celebrated in Ukraine and abroad. It aims to preserve the old traditions of making and wearing embroidered clothes. People all over the world wear vyshyvankas, organize parades, and concerts.

Ukraine is a country where vyshyvanka became a national symbol, which had a long transformation and organically entered the modern fashion.

День конститу́ції Constitution Day – June28 Ukraine’s Constitution Day is a public holiday that commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the Ukrainian Constitution.The Consitution was first adopted in 1996.

It took five years to approve the Constitution after Ukraine officially gained its independence. Finally, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted for the Basic Law on June 28, 1996. MPs spent the entire “constitutional night” for discussions and in the morning voted for the new Constitution, which stands on democratic standards.

День незале́жності Independence Day – August 24

Independence Day is Ukraine’s most significant state holiday, commemorating the “Declaration of Sovereignty” of Ukraine.

On this day, Ukrainians gather in their city squares or go to Kyiv. There are special patriotic concerts, events, and meetings all over the country on August 24.

As you see, there are quite a few holidays that are important for Ukrainians. Have you celebrated any of these holidays?

  1. MarieB13 June 9, 2021

    I can’t believe that people prepare 12 dishes during christmas! I would not be able to eat so much ))

    Can vyshyvanka’s be worn as a piece of fashion (even if it’s not vyshyvanka day?), or is this considered strange by Ukrainians?
    And is Kupala night also celebrated in the cities? Or is it a celebration found more in the countryside.

    • maryna.nosachenko July 5, 2021

      Yes, people usually invite the whole family to eat 12 dishes together.

      People may wear vyshyvankas without any special reason but more often on celebrations like weddings, secular or religious holidays.

      Yes, people celebrate Kupala in the cities, but bigger festivals are usually in the countryside.

      Thank you for your questions, Marie!

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