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How to Make the Most of The Yuletide Season with your Ukrainian Partner

In Ukraine, Christmas is on January 7th instead of December 25th.

This is in accordance with the Eastern Orthodox calendar, seeing as this country is a traditionally Eastern Orthodox country.

a giant christmas tree
Kiev Personals Ukraine celebrates Christmas a little more traditionally than America does.

What this means is that their Christmas is a very religious one, since they practice the customs and traditions of the Church. Christmas in Ukraine simply means that your holiday with your partner will have a more cultural and religious feel to it, not that it detracts from the festivities and general fun.

But every country is different, right? And each one celebrates their holiday tradition the way they know how. And like every Ukrainian holiday, it is the people you celebrate with that ultimately make it special.

If you want this Christmas to be truly special for your Ukrainian partner and yourself, then volunteer yourself to be truly immersed in their traditions. Here are a few of the most common traditions you can expect to participate in when in Ukraine:

Caroling

Caroling in Ukraine is a joyful and merry thing. The Christmas songs have their origins that tell their culture and history as well as their devotion to their religion. They have two main groups for their Christmas songs and they are called koliadky and shchedrikvy.

Koliadky songs are sung on Christmas Eve and Day. It’s name is theorized to be derived from the Latin word “calendae,” which means the first day of the month.

The other, shchedrikvy, is the second group of songs and is derived from the word that means generous. These songs are sung during the Feast of Epiphany.

Both of these have significant pagan elements and have been Christianized in the past. The themes may vary and caroling is done extensively with a lot of careful planning. If you find yourself getting dragged into a caroling session, go with the flow. You’ll have fun in the end, just don’t butcher the lyrics as much.

Ukraine’s version of Santa

Santa Claus
Kiev Personals Ukraine has Svyatyy Mykolay or Saint Nicholas instead of Santa Claus.

If you’re going to spend a holiday in Ukraine then be prepared to meet Svyatyy Mykolay. He is Ukraine’s version of Santa Claus and you probably know him for his other name, which is Saint Nicholas. He is also called Did Moroz or Father Frost.

Ukraine is especially connected to Saint Nick and you can see this by looking at the churches associated with him. He is mostly connected to gift-giving and is supposedly closely associated with Did Moroz.

December 19th is their Ukrainian St. Nicholas day and children might get gifts while others are told to wait and open it on Christmas Eve for a holiday present-opening.

Sviaty Vechir

Ukraine calls their Christmas Eve Sviaty Vechir. And on Sviaty Vechir, they put a candle on their windows to invite those without families so they all celebrate the special time together.

Christmas dinner isn’t served until the first star appears in the sky, as this represents the Three Kings and their journey.

family during Christmas dinner
Kiev Personals Having a family meal on Christmas Eve is a common theme among the diverse cultures that celebrate Christmas.

Dinner, also known as Sviata Vecheria, is served with dishes that were made especially for the holiday and they don’t contain any meat, dairy or any animal fat. The only exception is fish and only if it’s a herring. It has to be 12 dishes too, since it symbolizes the 12 apostles themselves.

If there is a family member who has passed on and could not join them for the holidays anymore, they will place an extra setting for them. Ukrainians may put hay into the house too, to remind them of the manner in which Christ was born.

The twelve dishes are the following:

borscht and some bread
Kiev Personals Ukrainians have borscht on their Christmas table every year!

Romance during Christmas

You are visiting the country your partner was born from. This naturally means you will be spending the rest of the holidays with her and her family. Christmas is usually for the family but who says it can’t be for romance?

Enjoy Ukraine with her. Spend your Christmas a little later than normal if you must. Experiencing this country during the holidays for yourself is a rare opportunity and shouldn’t be skipped.

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