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Everything You NEED to Know About the Ukrainian Christmas

Worldwide, 160 countries celebrate the Christmas season. With over two billion of the world’s total population being Christians, many do not want to miss out on the celebration of Christ’s birth.

A special day that happens only once a year, the Yuletide season is one of the greatly anticipated events in our calendar. People from different parts of the globe jive in with the festivities. On this day, almost everyone feels the happiest, making the season even more special.

This time of year, twinkling lights adorn the streets. Families gather to share meals. Children bounce around, feeling impatient to open their gifts as the clock nears twelve.

Christmas is also a time for love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Indeed, there’s no other joyous occasion than this.

A family sharing a meal together.
Ukraine Christmas centers around honoring the nativity of Jesus Christ.

A Traditional Ukrainian Christmas Day

Eastern Orthodox.

It is the predominant religion of Ukraine which is practiced by nearly half of the total population in the country. Though religion is diverse among the Ukrainians, a vast majority of the people heed Christianity.

It’s interesting to know that countries have their way of celebrating the occasion. Because every tradition and belief is unique from one another, it’s fascinating how one celebration can unite people from all over the world.

Christmas in Ukraine officially begins on January 6, the same day as Christmas Eve in the Julian calendar, and lasts until the 19th of January.

But isn’t it celebrated on the 25th of December?

In November 2017, members of parliament voted to make Catholic Christmas Day a supplementary national holiday for the country.

Before this, Ukraine had established January 6 as the country’s official Christmas Day, now considered a National Holiday. Since most Christian countries celebrate the holiday on December 25, most Ukrainians believe it should be celebrated on the same day as well.

To make your holidays merrier this year, spend the yuletide season with Ukrainian women. Experience everything beautiful about Christmas in Ukraine.

Sviata Vecherya (Holy Supper)

On the night before Christmas, traditional family gatherings take place where most Ukrainian families prepare a seasonal meal and share it for supper together. According to tradition, one should not eat anything on the eve until the birth of Jesus takes place, which is marked by the appearance of the first star in the sky.

While a typical holiday dinner in the West features turkey or ham, in Ukraine, they serve Kutia (boiled with mixed honey and poppy seeds), as the star dish of the night, along with Uzvar, which is prepared from fresh berries.

An image of Christmas trimmings.
Most Ukrainian women spend the holidays in the presence of their loved ones.

On the dinner table, Ukrainians serve 12 dishes that symbolize the 12 apostles.

Below are the rest of the dishes that completes the 12-meal course:

  1. Vinaigrette. A traditional Ukrainian dish cooked from boiled potatoes, beets, beans, and carrots. For a better taste, some prefer it with parsley, raw onions, and pickled cucumbers.

  2. Cabbage soup. From all over the world, cabbage soup has a variety of interpretations. But for the Ukrainians, they squeeze the cabbage off from the brine. In addition, some add mushrooms and broth for a more vegetarian style.

  3. Baked apples. While this is a daily dietary dish for the people in Ukraine, they turn it into something special on Christmas. Often, they prepare it with cottage cheese, cinnamon, puff pastry, and even bake it with honey.

  4. Vareniki with potatoes. These dumplings are served with unleavened dough and a filling of mushrooms, chopped vegetables, fruits, cottage cheese, and berries. It is usually served with sour cream, pork fat, onions, and sugar as well.

  5. Patties. The traditional Ukrainian patties are made of yeast dough that is usually baked or roasted salty with cabbage, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs, and even cherries and apples. Though this is not exactly a dessert, it is enjoyed by many as an appetizer that tastes great with tea.

  6. Stuffed cabbage rolls. Among the traditional dishes of the country, the stuffed cabbage rolls take a long time to prepare. Ground meat or minced vegetable is wrapped in boiled cabbage.

  7. Buckwheat. Other than the Kutia, Buckwheat is considered to be one of the main dishes served on Christmas. Seasoned with olive oil and greens, it is a dish that’s easy to prepare.

  8. Vegetable stew. Ukrainians either serve the stew as a snack or a side dish. It doesn’t have a distinct style of preparation and can be personalized according to your liking, compared to the rest of the dishes.

  9. Pickles. One of the most popular foods among Ukrainians is pickles. Although it’s widely eaten as a snack, on Christmas, it is added to the entree as a side dish.

  10. Borscht (lean). This is often served with patties and bread. Though it is made with 20 other ingredients, it does not contain a lot of calories.

When you’re dating in Ukraine, spend your holidays in her country and make sure not to miss these mouth-watering dishes.

A Christmas tree.
The best part of spending your holidays in Ukraine is you get to experience a new culture.

Ukrainian Holiday Carols

Christmas carols boost the holiday atmosphere, and in the country, there are different types of it.

Specifically the Koliadky for Christmas. It originates from the term “calendar” that begins with Christ’s birth. On the other hand, Shchedrivky is a song sung on New Year’s Eve. The latter conforms with the old-fashioned Julian calendar as it falls on the 13th day of January.

You might think that singing along to these carols would be hard for you since you don’t know any of them. In truth, perhaps you might.

Are you familiar with the melody entitled Carol of the Bells? It is originally a song of Ukrainian origin called Shchedryk, which was composed at the beginning of the 20th century by Mykola Leontovych.

It doesn’t matter if you’re tone-deaf. What’s important is that you’re in harmony with the festive mood of the season.

A Fantastic Time to Remember

Snow envelopes the streets of Ukraine during the holidays, and it is always a sight to behold. Just like a picture straight from a fairytale book, everywhere you look is bustling with life.

Needless to say, the holidays in Ukraine give you the most unforgettable Christmas memories you’ve ever had. And if you’re considering where to spend this year’s Christmas, choose the country. You might even find love and end up marrying a Ukrainian woman. Who knows?

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