New Year and Christmas Holidays traditions in Ukraine
The New Year time diversifies and enlivens everyday life, providing an amazing opportunity to relax, to get inspiration, and to show the elegance of various customs and celebrations in Ukraine. There are plenty of different reasons why people love the holiday. There’s a chance that the main reason is the number of days off. How long do people celebrate the New Year’s Eve holidays in Ukraine? Now we are going to answer this question. Moreover, we would like to describe a number of Christmas traditions people tend to follow in Ukraine.
First and foremost, it’s a well-known fact that on December 19 a huge rain of presents is handed out by Saint Nicholas to Ukrainian kids. The beginning of the winter holiday season is marked with this day in Ukraine. A wide variety of performances and concerts are conducted mostly for kids. Saint Nicholas would definitely prepare gifts for well-behaved kids, but, to tell the truth, toys and chocolate are gifted to everyone. Women bake round cookies with different fillings and decorations. These cookies are put under their sons’ and daughters’ pillows at night.
Besides, the festival is often associated with numerous charity events, fundraisers for orphans and people in need. In Western Ukraine, there is a good option of putting a wish list in local cathedrals and churches with letters from orphans and their wishes. Parishioners are welcome to take a letter from the list and arrange a gift for a child.
How does a typical man or woman in Ukraine celebrate Christmas? Actually, twice (and both dates are official public holidays and days off!). A number of Orthodox churches celebrate it on January 7, but Greek Catholic parishioners celebrate on December 25. It is not considered a commercial holiday. People share the holy dinner and give sweets to carol singers. It is believed that Christmas should delight us with spiritual values: love and respect. People have a chance to spend more time with their beloved ones.
Secondly, in late December, companies and corporations tend to hold office parties. Owners and managers are eager to enjoy New Year’s Eve together with their employees. People often decorate the workplace to add some Christmas cheer, play Secret Santa, and host an Awards Ceremony. Sometimes parties are conducted on weekdays and it looks like when they have no work, there is no business life. Some people could have additional work-free days.
Finally, almost everyone has a day off. Government establishments have a rest for two or three days, starting from the 31st of December when it is an official date for Ukrainians to celebrate New Year. If the holiday falls on Saturday or Sunday, we get Monday as a day off too. It seems fair, in our humble opinion.
An old Ukrainian proverb says, “The beginning of the year sets the tone of its run.” Imagine you are sitting close to your Ukrainian girlfriend, drinking champagne, and listening to live music… This New Year’s Eve definitely will be a memorable one! If you want to impress your lady, you may say “Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku!” (in Ukrainian it means “Happy New Year!”).
Furthermore, on the 14th of January, we celebrate the so-called Old New Year. Unfortunately, it is not a day off, but a vast majority of people are setting off firecrackers, drinking champagne, and exchanging gifts.
On the 19th of January, Epiphany is celebrated. It is believed, if you dive into an ice-hole in the lake, you will be healthy and get rid of all your sins. Therefore, people are willing to plunge themselves into cold water. You are welcome to join them!
To sum up, we are not entirely sure we deserve all the days off we have but we intend to be worthy of it, working hard. We strongly recommend that you should visit our country in winter to become a part of a non-stop month-long celebration.