In Snub to Russia, Ukraine Celebrates Christmas on 25th

Nation shifts to Gregorian calendar, joins the West
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 25, 2023 1:00 AM CST
In Snub to Russia, Ukraine Celebrates Christmas on 25th
Children sing traditional "Kolyadky" songs during a Christmas celebration in Kryvorivnia village, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023.   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Christmas is being celebrated around the world on Monday, but festivities in Ukraine are particularly noteworthy. The nation is marking the day on December 25th for the first time since 1917, reports VOA. Ukraine has long celebrated Christmas on January 7, where it falls on the Julian calendar. But this year, President Volodymyr Zelensky changed the law to shift to the Gregorian calendar, in line with the West. Russia still uses the Julian calendar for some religious observances, including Christmas, and the Ukraine move is seen as another cultural shift away from Moscow, per the BBC.

That shift isn't complete just yet, however. The AP notes that one of Ukraine's two competing Orthodox church organizations is keeping the January observation of Christmas. Still, the nation's public Christmas Day holiday is now December 25. The Kyiv Post notes that discussions to change the date of Christmas were underway before the Russian invasion, but the war sped up the process. (Vladimir Putin is reported to be privately signaling that he's open to ending the war.)

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