Christmas in Ukraine

Christmas (Рождество) is very different in Ukraine.  There are really two holidays back to back.

First comes New Year’s Day (on January 1, of course).  This is the BIG holiday.   Beginning on December 20th, or thereabouts, the New Year’s tree stands go up all over.  People decorate for New Years…not Christmas.  It’s kind of strange because every thing we call Christmas decorations in America are New Year’s decorations here.  

People often dress up in costumes for New Year’s, too.  It’s a little weird to walk through the Christmas section (or should I say New Year’s section) and see all the decorations along side costume sections like American stores have at halloween time.


They have a different character than Santa Claus…called Дед Мороз (Djed Moroz — translates to English as Old Man Frost.  Usually he is accompanied by “Snow Maiden” his helper.  I won’t go in to all the particulars about him, but you can read all about him here…


[scbutton link=”” target=”blank” variation=”blue” size=”small” align=”none”]Read More about Old Man Frost[/scbutton]

The big gift giving day is on January 1.  People give gifts like in  America on this day around the  New Year’s tree, but I suspect they don’t/can’t go quite as overboard as people often do in the US…but that’s just an assumption.

Then on January 7, we celebrate Christmas.  It’s a traditionally religious holiday observing the birth of Messiah.  However, while it is a religious holiday, it’s mainly a day of rest and celebration…not necessarily centered around Christ (kind of like Christmas in America without the presents).  It is a big holiday though.

There is a HUGE celebration New Year’s Eve in downtown Kiev (pictured above).  They have fireworks, food, celebration…and who knows what else!  


 We’ll celebrate Christmas on December 25, like usual.  Then we will of course celebrate New Year’s Day (you guessed it, on January 1).  And we will observe Christmas on January 7 without gifts.  Probably will have a quiet day at home remembering the birth of our Savior.

We will, decidedly, have a white christmas (whether it’s December 25 or January 7).  It’s been snowing all day today again and is supposed to snow for the next 4 days.  We shall see.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!