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Ukraine Christmas Traditions

Christmas in Ukraine

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Christmas Tree in Kiev

Christmas Tree in Kiev

CC BY-NC-ND Em and Ernie
Ukraine celebrates Christmas on January 7. A Christmas tree on Independence Square in Kiev doubles as a New Year's tree. While celebrating Christmas was not accepted during much of the 20th century, an increasing number of families celebrate Christmas in Ukraine.

Holy Evening

Sviaty Vechir, or Holy Evening, is the Ukrainian Christmas Eve. Families celebrate with special food. Hay may be brought into the house to remind those gathered of the manger in which Christ was born. Families wait until the first star appears in the sky before beginning to eat and may attend church services late that night.

An interesting aspect of Christmas in Ukraine is the bringing of a wheat sheaf into the house as a reminder of ancestors and the long tradition of agriculture in Ukraine. The sheaf is called a didukh. Those who are familiar with Ukrainian culture will understand the importance of grain to Ukraine – even the Ukrainian flag, with its blue and yellow colors, represents golden grain under a blue sky.

Ukraine's Santa Clause

Ukraine's Santa Claus is called Did Moroz (Father Frost) or Svyatyy Mykolay (St. Nicholas). Ukraine has a special connection with St. Nicholas, and the figure of St. Nicholas and Did Moroz are closely associated.
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