Christmas on 25th December instead of 6 January (or is it "as well as"?)
Ukrainian Christmas tree. Photo: PAP/Łukasz Gągulski

Christmas on 25th December instead of 6 January (or is it “as well as”?)

More and more Ukrainians are celebrating Christmas in December in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It is reported by with reference to “Polskie Radio”.

Orthodox Christians in Ukraine (over 70% of the population) have traditionally celebrated Christmas on January 6 and 7. This follows the Julian calendar, in contrast to the Gregorian calendar used by most of the world. 

However, more and more Ukrainians have been switching to the “global” date for Christmas and this year, the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has approved the change.

Another Christian faith, the Greek Catholics have also shifted to the Gregorian calendar and will also be officially celebrating Christmas today. 

Ukrainian author Yevheniia Zavalii – who started celebrating Christmas on December 25 in 2014 – spoke to the Kyiv Independent, explaining that the change is also an integral part of Ukraine’s growing awareness of its cultural independence: 

“Our calendar, holiday, and church were stolen from us (in generations prior) by Russia. Now we are just reclaiming what is rightfully ours.”

However, the main beneficiaries of the change may have non-political interests at the top of their minds – children. We spoke to Julia Melnyk, a Ukrainian sociologist living in Poland for the last 2 years and a mother of one. She said, “Many of us have really just added the December celebrations without removing the January ones. The kids are happy that way.”

Sources: Kyiv Independent, Radio Poland