Ukraine Celebrates Christmas On 25th Instead Of Jan. 7

For the first time ever, Ukraine deviated from its tradition and celebrated Christmas on Dec. 25 this year. According to Breitbart News, the nation traditionally celebrated Christmas on Jan. 7, like other nations that use the Julian calendar.

As noted by BBC News, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a law change back in the summer that allowed the nation to depart from its usual observance of the Julian calendar. Hence, it was able to celebrate the Christian holiday according to the Gregorian calendar.

Speaking about the change on Dec. 24, the Metropolitan Bishop Epiphanius I of Kyiv, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine stated, “This year, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, together with the majority of local churches, for the first time fully celebrates the holidays according to the Revised Julian calendar… Christmas calls for a rethinking of life views and reminds us of eternal Christian values: faith, love, and truth are the guides of stability and the foundation of our struggle.”

The change, for Ukraine, is aimed at communicating its difference from Russian, as Zelensky said the date change is a way for the nation to “abandon the Russian heritage.” When the president signed the law in July, he said that Ukrainians would love to “live their own life with their own traditions and holidays.”

Russia is however, not the only other nation that celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7, as the tradition dates back to the 11th century. Many other nations observe the January date, including Egypt, Serbia, Macedonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Moldova and Montenegro.

The change in its observation of Christmas is not the only way Ukraine has tried to distance itself from Russia since its war. The use of Russian language in daily communication has also reduced even though a third of Ukrainians speak the language as their daily language.

In a Christmas address to the nation on Sunday night, Zelensky said, “This is Christmas in times of full-scale war. Christmas with a different mood, context, and flavor… How we rejoice at seeing the first star in the evening sky and not seeing enemy missiles and [drones] in it.”

He went further, saying, “A thousand-year old symbol of Ukrainian history, our culture, religion, Orthodoxy, and all of Eastern Christianity… Throughout its history, this place has experienced numerous upheavals and hardships…Profanation, desecration, looting. The Horde, the Nazis, the Soviet times. This place was captured, burned, and destroyed. But no one has ever been able to destroy it completely and forever. The Lavra has always withstood to be reborn again.”