Українці вперше святкують Різдво разом із Заходом

Today, December 25, according to the Gregorian calendar (according to which we all live in everyday life), all Christians celebrate Christmas. In Ukraine, until 2014, Christmas was celebrated exclusively on January 7 (December 25 according to the Julian calendar). After 2014, there were attempts to switch to the celebration along with the whole world, but it seems that Ukraine switched fully only after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia.

This year, the OCU allowed to celebrate Orthodox Christmas according to the Western style, or according to the Gregorian or New Julian calendar, namely on December 25. However, the celebration of January 7 has not been canceled yet.


Previously, Christians used the Julian calendar both in church and in everyday life. It was introduced back in 46 BC by Julius Caesar. He agreed with the solar calendar the length of the year, which was 365 and a quarter day.

However, later this led to the calendar lagging behind the Sun – in one and a half millennia, it fell behind by ten days. Because of this, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar, clarifying the rules for establishing years with a duration of 365 days, which are called ordinary, and years with 366 days – leap years.

Over time, the difference between the two calendars increased by one day, and now it is already 13 days.

In Ukraine, the Julian calendar was used until 1918, when the government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic introduced the Gregorian calendar into official use. The Bolsheviks also switched to it, but the Russian Orthodox (which is now more of a sect than a church) basically remained on the Julian calendar.

Currently, most of the world’s Orthodox churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and most Protestant churches celebrate Christmas on December 25, according to the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian calendar continues to be used, in particular, by the Russian, Georgian, Serbian, Ohrid, and Jerusalem Orthodox churches, as well as mostly by the OCU and UGCC until 2022.

In 2017, December 25 was recognized as an official holiday in Ukraine. But both Ukrainian churches — the UGCC and the OCU, which were just being born at that time — were in no hurry to make their move before celebrating Christmas on December 25, and there were ongoing discussions in society about the transition.

In 2019, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Abbot of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epiphany stated that Ukrainians can celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar on December 25, if they wish.

And already in October of this year, the OCU at the Synod decided to hold services on the occasion of Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar, that is, on December 25.

Also for the celebration of Christmas on December 25 and the population of Ukraine.

Thus, in Diia, a survey was started among the population on when to celebrate Christmas. So far, almost a million Ukrainians have voted, and more than 60% voted in favor of celebrating Christmas on December 25.

In the explanatory video for the survey, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko talked a little about the history of the Christmas celebration.

According to the minister, for Ukraine, the Julian calendar is a legacy of the Russian Empire, which refused to switch to the Gregorian calendar.

“Only after the fall of the empire did the Ukrainian People’s Republic switch to the Gregorian calendar. At the same time, the Bolsheviks also abandoned the Julian calendar,” he explained.

However, according to the minister, the Russian and Ukrainian churches traditionally use the Julian calendar.

However, recently, many Ukrainians have switched to celebrating Christmas on December 25 independently or generally celebrate two dates.

More and more Ukrainians meet him on December 25. As most of the world does. And how it was in 1918 after the declaration of independence of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.

“We decided to conduct a survey on which date of celebration you prefer,” Tkachenko explained.

So: the “DIIA” application offers the same answer options:

  • December 25th
  • January 7
  • both dates
  • I don’t celebrate Christmas.

And for today, December 25, 2022, here are the approximate voting results:

Consequently, Ukrainians are increasingly moving away from the Russian heritage and striving for unity with the whole world.

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