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Christmas Day in Ukraine

Many Ukrainians have a day off on Christmas Day, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is an annual public holiday across Ukraine and falls on January 7, the Orthodox Christmas date.

Stain glass representation of the virgin Mary and baby Jesus
Christmas Day celebrates the day Jesus Christ, pictured above, was born.
Christmas Day celebrates the day Jesus Christ, pictured above, was born.

What Do People Do?

The period from January 7-14 is a festive week, in which it is customary for some people to dress up, visit homes, sing Christmas songs (e.g. Kolyadka), and wish each other blessings. A Ukrainian Christmas dinner may often include dishes such as:

  • Kutia (sweet grain pudding).
  • Borshch (beet soup).
  • Vushka (small dumplings with mushroom).
  • Varenyky (dumplings with cabbage and potatoes).
  • Holubtsi (stuffed cabbage roll). 

Other Christmas activities include puppet shows of the Nativity, holiday concerts, and Christmas fairs.

Public Life

Christmas Day is a public holiday across Ukraine, so many businesses, schools, universities and public offices are closed.


Christmas for many Ukrainians is an important family holiday. When Ukraine was part of the former Soviet Union, Christmas Day was not a public holiday but Christmas traditions were not forgotten. After Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, Christmas Day was made a public holiday. Many Ukrainian Christmas traditions are based on pre-Christian Pagan customs.

Many Orthodox Christian churches in Ukraine observe the Christmas Day date from the Julian calendar, which is different from the more commonly used Gregorian calendar. So, while Christmas is still on December 25 in the Julian calendar, it appears on January 7 in the Gregorian calendar, up until 2100. After that, the Gregorian date for Orthodox Christmas will be January 8 in 2101.


Christmas meals that have a symbolic meaning include:

  • Kolach (Christmas bread), which is braided into a ring, with 3 rings placed on top of another to symbolize the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity of father, son and holy spirit.
  • Didukh, a sheaf of wheat stalks or mixed grain stalks placed under icons in a home. It symbolizes family ancestors.

Some families celebrate Christmas with a 12-course dinner, with each course representing one of Jesus Christ’s apostles. According to the pre-Christian Pagan tradition, each course of meal represented a full moon that took place during the year.

About Christmas Day in other countries

Read more about Christmas Day.

Christmas Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday Type
ThuJan 72010Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
FriJan 72011Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
SatJan 72012Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
MonJan 72013Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
TueJan 72014Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
WedJan 72015Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
ThuJan 72016Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
SatJan 72017Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
SunJan 72018Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
MonJan 72019Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox
TueJan 72020Christmas DayNational holiday, Orthodox

Quick Facts

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Ukraine on January 7, a date based on the Orthodox Christian Church’s calendar.

Christmas Day 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas Day 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Name in other languages

Christmas DayEnglish
Første juledagNorwegian

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in January 2017 in Ukraine

World Holiday on January 7, 2017

Fun Holiday on January 7, 2017

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