Updated December 24th, 2023 at 18:12 IST
A First in 100 Years, Ukraine to Celebrate Christmas, December 25
Many Ukrainians are preparing to celebrate Christmas on 25 December for the first time in 100 years since 1917.
Many Ukrainians are preparing to celebrate Christmas on 25 December for the first time in 100 years since 1917. Shifting the holiday signifies another cultural change in Ukraine, moving further away from Russia.
Traditionally, the main Orthodox church has celebrated the holiday on January 7, in accordance with the Julian calendar, also utilized by Russia.
Ukraine's cultural shift
While a majority of Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a bill into law in July this year, officially designating December 25 as Christmas following the adoption of the Western Gregorian calendar in the nation.
With the support of the church, this decision represents another stride by Kyiv to eliminate all remnants of Russian influence in the country amid the ongoing struggle against Moscow's invasion.
Commencing in February 2022, the attack galvanized the nation, prompting numerous Ukrainians to disavow historical connections to Kyiv's former ruler, which encompassed the rejection of the Russian language and culture.
European Union aspirations
Ukraine aspires to join the European Union, with many citizens viewing membership as a significant affirmation of what they perceive to be their country's historical position in Europe.
Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian MP and leader of the Golos Zmin Party, emphasised to Sky News the significance of shifting the date to December 25, stating, "It's incredibly important. We are aligning ourselves with our European family in various aspects of our lives, including the day we observe Christmas."
"We are super grateful to the leaders of the religious organisations for supporting us with it," she added.
Published December 24th, 2023 at 18:12 IST