Christmas Day in Ukraine in 2024

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Christmas Day
  Dates of Christmas Day in Ukraine
2025 Ukraine Thu, Dec 25 National Holiday
2024 Ukraine Wed, Dec 25 National Holiday
2023 Ukraine Mon, Dec 25 National Holiday
2022 Dec 25, Dec 26
UkraineMon, Dec 26National Holiday (in lieu)
UkraineSun, Dec 25National Holiday
2021 Dec 25, Dec 27
UkraineMon, Dec 27National Holiday (in lieu)
UkraineSat, Dec 25National Holiday

Christmas celebrates the Nativity of Jesus which according to tradition took place on December 25th 1 BC

  Christmas Day in other countries
Christmas Day internationally
Related holidays

Christmas Day in Ukraine

In November 2017, Ukrainian MPs voted to make Catholic Christmas a national holiday, meaning there will be two Christmases in the Ukraine as Orthodox Christmas Day is already a national holiday on 7 January.

An explanatory note to the Ukrainian law relating to the holidays says that about a third of all Christian communities of Ukraine consider December 25 a holiday.

"Moreover, most Christian churches of the world celebrate Christmas on December 25th. For many Ukrainians, this date is also acceptable, given the optimisation of celebrating the religious holiday of the Nativity of Christ, which is accompanied by fasting, and the secular New Year," the explanatory note says.

To maintain the number of national holidays, this holiday will replace the second day of May day holidays that was traditionally observed on 2 May.

When is Christmas Day?

On this day, over two billion people (over a third of the world's population) will celebrate the birth of Christ.

Christmas Day celebrates the Nativity of Jesus which according to tradition took place on December 25th 1 BC. December  25th will be a public holiday in most countries around the world. If 25 December falls on a weekend, then a nearby weekday may be taken as a holiday in lieu.

History of the holiday

Whilst the holiday has a strong grounding in the story of the birth of Jesus, many of the traditions we associate with Christmas have evolved from pre-Christian beliefs and certainly, the traditions have evolved beyond purely a Christian holiday to have a wider secular significance.

The celebration of Christmas in late December is certainly as a result of pre-existing celebrations happening at that time, marking the Winter Solstice.

Most notable of these is Yule (meaning 'Feast'), a winter pagan festival that was originally celebrated by Germanic people. The exact date of Yule depends on the lunar cycle but it falls from late December to early January. In some Northern Europe countries, the local word for Christmas has a closer linguistic tie to 'Yule' than 'Christmas', and it is still a term that may be used for Christmas in some English-speaking countries. Several Yule traditions are familiar to the modern celebration of Christmas, such as Yule Log, the custom of burning a large wooden log on the fire at Christmas; or indeed carol singing, which is surprisingly a very ancient tradition.

Under the Julian calendar, the winter solstice was fixed on December 25, and this date was also the day of the popular Roman holiday of Saturnalia, in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture; which was later superseded by Sol Invictus, a day that bundled up the celebration of several sun based gods into one easy to manage festival.

As Christianity began to take hold across the Roman empire and beyond, the date of when to celebrate the birth of Christ became a bit of an issue, with several different dates proposed.

It wasn't until 350 AD, when the then Bishop of Rome, Pope Julius I, fixed the official Christmas day on December 25. Unfortunately, Julius, I didn't show his working out on how he reached this date; some scholars later suggested that it was calculated as nine months after the Annunciation (March 25), when the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary and told her she would bear the son of God. Whatever the reasoning, it is clear that, just as key pagan sites were being chosen for new churches, so too the date was chosen with the intention to catapult Christmas into becoming a major festival by placing it over the pre-existing pagan festivals.

Christmas Traditions


Kissing someone who happens to be stood under a sprig of mistletoe is seen as a tradition popularised in Victorian England. However even this relatively modern tradition has much more ancient echoes in that Mistletoe bears its fruit around the time of the Winter Solstice, and its supposed mythical ability to heal and increase fertility.

In Norse mythology, an arrow made from mistletoe killed Balder, who was a brother of Thor. Frigga, Balder's mother brought him back to life shedding tears that changed the red berries on mistletoe to white. Frigga then blessed the mistletoe and promised a kiss to anyone who passed beneath it.

A hint of Mistletoe's integration from pagan ceremonies into Christmas tradition is said that the mistletoe plant used to be a tree, and its wood was used to make the cross on which Jesus was crucified. After the Crucifixion, the plant shrivelled to became the parasitic vine we know today.

Carol Singing

As mentioned earlier, the tradition of singing of songs can be traced back to the pagan festivals before the advent of Christmas. Indeed, the word carol is derived from the Greek word "choraulein", which meant "an ancient circle dance performed to flute music."

As carols were already an established custom, early Christians made the shrewd decision to integrate Christian songs into the tradition rather than ban the singing.

Most new Christian Carols were written in Latin, which was by the middle ages, a language only used by the church, thus reducing the popularity of the custom.

However, carols received an injection of popularity when St. Francis of Assisi started his Nativity Plays in Italy in 1223, which included songs written in the local people's language.

The tradition of 'Modern' Carol singing flourished in England. Known as Wassailing, it was a chance for peasants to get some much-needed charity from their feudal lords. This singing for money developed in a custom involving travelling musicians who would visit wealthy homes, singing in the hope of receiving money food or gifts in return.

There was a short interruption in 1647 when the Puritans come to power after the English Civil War. The Puritans, under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell, disapproved of the celebration of Christmas. There was even a fine of up to five shillings for anyone caught singing Christmas carols. When King Charles II came back to the throne in 1660, the public singing of Christmas carols was permitted again.


Having read all about Christmas, why not test your new-found knowledge with our Christmas Quiz?

Ukrainian Christmas Customs

Ukrainians add a spider and web ornament to their Christmas trees every year.

This tradition is based on a folklore tale that an old woman could not afford to decorate her tree. She went off to bed on Christmas eve feeling glum and in the morning she woke to a tree beautifully decorated in spiders web.

Hanging a spider decoration on the tree is supposed to bring good luck.

Did you know?

Three facts about Christmas Day

22% of men leave their Christmas shopping until the last two days before Christmas. Only 9% of women do the same. And 12% of us don't even start our Christmas shopping until the January sales.

The bestselling Christmas single ever is Bing Crosby's White Christmas, selling over 50 million copies worldwide since 1942.

In 1695, Christmas was banned in Massachusetts for 22 years, because celebrants were too likely to be become drunk and rowdy. Anyone caught celebrating was required to pay a 5 shilling (about $50 in 2019) fine.

More facts about Christmas Day

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