National Holidays (Public and Religious). These are "no-business" days in Ukraine. Ukraine holidays can be divided into three groups:
Religious Holidays. These are regular business days except for those which are included in the list of the National Holidays. Just Holidays. Among these can be found different professional holidays, dates commemorating national heroes and significant political or cultural events and also holidays adopted from other cultures. There are seven national holidays celebrated in Ukraine every year. If any of the official Ukraine holidays fall on a Saturday or Sunday, it is customary for the following Monday to be an official public holiday.
New Year Eve (December, 31).
New Year’s Eve that is celebrated on December, 31, is definitely the favorite among the Ukraine holidays. It has some special and sentimental value in Ukraine. People here have saying that a person will spend the New Year the way he has welcomed it. So everybody tries to do their best and make their New Year’s Eve the greatest day of the year.
To celebrate the New Year Ukrainians decorate the New Year Tree, present each other with gifts, send cards and cook festive dinners. Then it is time for the best wishes for the next year, you’ll have to make them exactly a few minutes before midnight to make them true!
According to Ukrainian traditions people spend this holiday at home together with their relatives or friends. Everybody enjoys this bright holiday, but kids are the ones who are excitedly waiting for Ded Moroz (Santa Claus in the culture of the eastern Slavs). He will come personally to each house and put presents under the New Year Tree.
New Year’s Eve is definitely a great and special time in Ukraine, more special than one can imagine! New Year comes to Ukraine twice. Here is the story why. In 1918 Soviet Russia adopted the Gregorian calendar, up to that point before making the switch they had been on a calendar that left them 13 days behind the rest of the world. However, even though the official calendar was switched, many people did not want to change and refused to celebrate New Years before Christmas.
Now people in countries of the former Soviet Union celebrate two New Years. The official one is celebrated on December, 31 (New style) and also unofficially celebrated — on January, 13 (Old style). Marking this event they cheering each other, «Happy New Year!» and «Happy «Old» New Year!»
International Women’s Day (March, 8).
From time to time history makes some unexpected twists. International Women’s Day in Ukraine is one of those «twists». It was started as a political protest of women from clothing and textile factories on 8 March 1857 in New York City. Somehow it has lost its political flavor when it became a part of cultural traditions of the former USSR.
Traditions of the International Women’s Day in Ukraine are the «mix» of Western Mother’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day. This holiday is extremely popular and it is a popular occasion for men to demonstrate their love and sympathy to the women around them. From the other side, this is the only day of the year when every woman becomes a queen.
The Day of International Solidarity of Workers (May, 1st and 2nd).
Today this holiday is more a reminder about the «good old days» of the Soviet Union. In the past it was a day for colorful parades, loud marches with crowds of peoples in the streets. Now the majority of people just takes a rest at home or goes camping with their families or friends.
January 1 New Year Day
January 7 Orthodox Christmas
March 8 International Women’s Day
April Easter, Holy Trinity Day
May 9 Victory Day
June 28 Constitution Day
August 24 Independence Day
Victory Day (May, 9).
This is the day when people of the former Soviet Union celebrate the victory over the fascist Germany. During World War Two the USSR lost 27 million people — more than all the other allied nations combined. Three quarters of the German soldiers who were killed during WWII lost their lives on the Russian Front. Practically each person in the USSR has relatives who did not come home after Victory was achieved. May they will never be forgotten and we remember them. Let the future generations learn from the history and live in peace on our Earthly home. Have each of present and future generations safeguard thinking ability.
Constitution Day (June, 28).
This holiday commemorates the date of the adoption of the new Ukrainian constitution in 1996.
Independence Day (August, 24).
Among the Ukraine holidays Independence Day is a symbol of the new Ukrainian history. This holiday is dedicated to the historical event when Ukraine proclaimed independence from the USSR in 1991. There are no particular traditions of celebrating it yet. Large public performances, festivals, concerts of popular singers in the streets take place and large cities usually have military parades and performances by the military orchestras.
For decades people in Ukraine were controlled by an atheistic regime. That’s why during most of the 20th century religious holidays were not included in the list of official Ukraine holidays, but in some mysterious way people remembered the special traditions and spirituality which distinguish religious holidays. Only at the end of the 1990’s were religious holidays in Ukraine resurrected. The traditions surrounding religious holidays and their importance in the social life have grown since then.
Easter or Holy Trinity Day.
Easter is considered the major holiday of the Orthodox religious calendar. The date of Easter changes each year according to the lunar calendar. Several other Christian holidays fix their dates by reference to Easter. Since the Orthodox Church uses the Julian or «Old Style» (OS) calendar, the calculations for the date of Easter are pretty complicated. To determine the date of Easter, you can use calculators from the Diocese of Ely web site.
The Christmas celebrations in Ukraine may be the most full of beauty and solemnity among the Ukraine holidays. The day of marking this day is January the 7th.
Triytsia or Pentecost («the 50th day» in ancient Greek) commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. This day celebrates the early dates of June.
Many of Ukrainian holidays are based not only on Christian-Pagans traditions, but are deeply rooted in a pagan culture. Ivana Kupala holiday (July 6-7) is the most mysterious and enigmatic holiday in the Slavic culture. It is the Holiday of Fire and Water and is surrounded with many legends and rituals of its own.
Other Ukraine Holidays.
Ukrainians are extremely sociable and friendly people, they love to visit each other at home or just to have casual conversation with strangers in the street. Perhaps these are the main reasons for those numerous other Ukraine holidays which we have. Here are some of the most popular of them:
Tatiana’s Day or Students’ Day (January, 25).
Tatiana’s Day is a kind and cheerful holiday. Present day students enjoy the freedom, youth and coming vacations. For those who have been a student many years or decades ago, it is always the day to remember about the best days of their youth.
St. Valentine’s Day (February, 14).
This holiday was adopted from Western culture about 10 years ago. It has become very popular in Ukraine since then.
Men’s Day (October, 14).
Formerly was known as The Soviet Army Day. It is held as a sign of respect to all generations of the Soviet soldiers and military people who defended the Motherland from invaders. Now, this holiday is considered as an opportunity for men to have their own holiday, similar to the Women’s Day on March, 8.
Day of Knowledge (September, 1).
This is the first day of the new school year for all Schools, Colleges, Universities and Institutes.
Fool’s Day or Humor Day (April, 1).
April fool’s Day is celebrated everywhere in Ukraine, but nobody takes it more «seriously» than the «Humor Capital» of Ukraine, the city of Odessa. From the first minute at the annual «Yumorina» comedy festival you will feel that specific atmosphere, which brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to Odessa every April.