Holidays

Ukrainian people’s celebrations of public holidays are traditionally rich in cultural content. Large public performances, concerts and festivals often take place during official holidays. Most Ukrainian celebrations start with public address from Ukrainian President and/or other important people.

Traditionally, the majority of Ukrainian people are Orthodox Christian. Therefore the Government has proclaimed Christmas and Easter official holidays in accordance with Orthodox Church calendar: January 7th Christmas and April 16th (for the year 2001) Easter. Another official religious holiday is Trinity, also celebrated according to Orthodox Church calendar on June 7.

New Year is celebrated throughout the country on January 1st . It is an interesting tradition, though common for several other FSU-countries, to celebrate also so-called “Old-Style New Year”. This tradition has originally arisen from high conservatism of former Russian Empire and Russian Orthodox Church towards the change of calendar in the beginning of the 20th century. In some regions of Ukraine this holiday is still almost as important as January 1st.

March 8th – “International Women’s Day” is celebrated everywhere in Ukraine. Originally introduced by Communist party this holiday has now became a cultural tradition while it has lost all its originally promoted content. Ukrainian men traditionally make lovely gifts to their mothers, wives, daughters and women colleagues. A bouquet of flowers is traditionally a necessary addition to any other gift as well.

Some other Soviet era holidays are still celebrated in Ukraine even though they became more or less obsolete. Among those are: May 1 – International Workers' Solidarity Day and November 7th - Anniversary of the October Revolution. Another Soviet-era holiday that stands out is May 9th, the Victory Day. It is celebrated in memory of the World War II, which took life of nearly every 6th Ukrainian citizen. Because of its tragic content, the holiday is of lesser entertaining kind but instead it is celebrated with due in such cases respect.

Among new holidays are August 24th, Independence Day, commemorating the 1991 proclamation of Ukrainian independence from the USSR and June 28th - Constitution Day - the day when effective Ukrainian Constitution was adopted in 1996. Although these holidays do not have long-lasting traditions, they quickly become increasingly popular among Ukrainians.

Each Ukrainian city also has it City Day. These days may commemorate different events such as official city establishment day or a day when the city was freed from fascist occupation during World War II. Some of the Ukrainian cities have centuries-long traditions.

Kyiv, the Ukraine Capital, celebrates its days on May 30-31. The celebration usually is held at several locations in Kyiv and several performances of popular actors or musicians are held for public enjoyment.

There are other region specific holidays, some of which have long rooted and often unclear traditions which may as deep into history as pre-Christian (before 988 AD) and earlier pagan times.