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January 1*
New Years Day
новый года
The biggest holiday in Ukraine usually spent with the family. Huge meals are prepared and eaten throughout the night. Traditional holiday films are watched on television, and a few minutes before midnight, the president addresses the nation. After midnight Ukrainians sometimes visit other friends and family, exchanging gifts. Fireworks are often lit in celebration throughout Odessa.
January 7*
Eastern Orthodox Christmas Day Рождество
Svjata Vecherya or "Holy Supper" is the central tradition in Christmas Eve celebrations.

Ukrainians serve a traditional Christmas dish, Kutia. Kutia is made of special kind of home-made bread with honey and red poppies.

The family often sings Kolyadky, Ukrainian Christmas Carols. In many communities the old Ukrainian tradition of caroling is carried on by young children who go to house to house and throw rice into the home and ask for candy or coins.

Ukrainian families have Christmas trees similar to western countries.

December 25th, except among Protestant and Catholic groups, is not observed.

January 13
Old New Year
Similar to New Years day
January 25
Student Day
Students finish there exams on this day, also winter solace
February 14
Valentines Day
Valentines day is a recent import (in the last 10 years) from the west. The holiday has caught on very quickly though. Similar to March 8, Flower prices double or triple, and throughout Odessa women are seen walking with roses.
February 23
Men's day Army day
Similar to Woman's Day, except vice versa
March 8*
International Woman's Day
On this holiday men are expected to do all of the cleaning and cooking. Men present their wives, mistresses, sisters, mothers, and female friends with flowers and small gifts.
April 1
(Humor Day)
Since April 1, 1974 Odessa has had an outdoor festival called humor day. Thousands of people from the former Soviet Union come to celebrate.

Thousands of people descend onto Deribasovskaya street. In the late morning is a parade to the Shevchenko Park (Парк Шевченко) Stadium, where a show is performed.

Often parachutists, dancers, and singers entertain the crowds. In addition there is the International Imposters Club, The Extraordinary Congress of the Humorist Party, The World's' Only Odessite Olympic Games.

April 10
Odessa's liberation
On this day Odessa was liberated from the Nazi's in World War Two.
May 1*
May Day
International Worker's Day
May 9*
Victory Day
(World War Two)
Wreathes and flowers are put on the graves of those who died in the war.

Large military parades take place at the April 10th monument and Pobeda park.

May 12
Day of remembrance of victims of the communist regime
(not widely acknowledged)
June 1
Children's day
During the Soviet Union there was free ice cream for all kids and children's concerts in the parks.
June 28*
Constitution day
Last Sunday of July
Neptune day /
Sailors day.
Day celebrating sailors. Many sailors, current and former, get together and celebrate.
August 24*
Ukraine Independence Day
Ukraine celebrated it's 10 years of independence in 2002. While Ukraine's capital, Kiev, rebuilt the downtown area and the train station, in Odessa this was only marked with an odd cut tree monument.

There is often fireworks and a concert on Potemkin stairs.

September 1
"Day of Knowledge"
First day of school
November 7, 8
October revolution (based on the old calendar which is 13 days behind)
Celebration of the Soviet revolution. In 2002 it ceased to be a national holiday in Ukraine. Some old communist pensioners often march on this day.
December 6
Ukrainian Army Day

*Official national holiday with days off.

Alter in church on Pushkinskaya (Пушкинская) by Galen Frysinger

Greek Orthodox Holidays
January 19
Epiphany (Baptism)
Commemorating the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles.

The priest stands outside of the church and sprinkles the faithful.

February 15
Candle mass (Stritennya Hospdne)
A celebration to commemorate the presentation of Christ in the temple. (Luke 2:25-29)

The faithful come to the church and have the water and candles they bring consecrated.

These candles are called "hromnychny" (protecting against thunder) because traditionally they used to be lighted and put before icons during thunderstorms as protection against lightning striking the house. Today, when roofs are no longer made of straw and have lightning rods, people use these concentrated candles as a protection from evil.

The water concentrated on this day is believed to have medical and curative properties; particularly helpful when the aliment has been caused by the ill-wisher's "evil eye"

50 days before Easter
Last week before Lent (Late February-early March)
Mardi-Gras (Maslyana)
The celebrations in Ukraine are usually much more restrained than the carnivals in New Orleans, US.

The church requires abstinence from meat.

Forty days before Easter
A period of fasting, abstinence and self-denial. A person is supposed to particularly "Christian" during this time, holding in anger and being kind.

All kinds of entertainment, public and private are forbidden. The only kind of music the faithful can listen to is religious music. Sex between married couples is also forbidden and carnal thoughts are to be suppressed.

Meat, fish, and dairy products are forbidden. Oil and wine are allowed only in small quantities and only on special occasions.

April/May 7 days before Easter Sunday
Palm Sunday
Beginning of the Holy week

The faithful purchase palms in front of the church, which are consecrated and adorn their home.

Thursday before Easter
Clean Thursday
Ukrainians thoroughly clean their houses before Easter.
Friday before Easter
Good Friday

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Blessing bread in baskets on Easter day by Galen Frysinger
Notice how the priest has a bucket of holy water, which he flicks toward the faithful


Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Ukrainians are famous for their painted wooden Easter eggs.

Families and business cook cakes, called paskha, oblong cakes with a domed top, topped with icing and sprinkles.

The faithful set down open bags full of colored boiled eggs and paskha cakes on the street and wait for the priest to walk past and sprinkle them and their gifts with holy water.

The forty-day fast is broken this day with the best food and drinks.

Sunday after Easter
Memorial Day Raditelsky Den (parents/ родительский День)
Ukrainians visit the graves of loved ones with food and drink. They sit at the gravestones eating, drinking, and reminiscing. Often the site of the grave has a bench and table just for this purpose. 
May 40 days after Easter Sunday
Ascension Day
Commemorating Jesus's ascension to heaven
May Seventh Sunday after Easter
Commemorating the followers of Jesus receiving the Holy Spirit
Transformation of Christ
Exaltation of the Cross
First Sunday closest to November 30
Christians prepare for the coming of Jesus

Building the traditional Christmas tree on
Deribaskaya from odecca.com

Why do Ukrainians Celebrate Christmas on January 7th and have two New Year's Days?

Old New Year's has gained importance among Russia's growing number of Orthodox Christian believers, who returned from the church after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The holiday is celebrated only in Russia and some former Soviet republics, including Belarus and Ukraine, where the Julian calendar, which lags behind its Western counterpart by 13 days, was used until the 1917 Russian revolution.

The reason for this discrepancy is a small mathematical error by the Julian calendar's Roman authors when it was introduced in 46 BC They failed to calculate some leap year days. This oversight was corrected in the West in 1582 with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian Calendar was discarded after the Bolshevik revolution so Russia would be in sync with the rest of the world, but it was still retained by the Orthodox church for religious holidays.--from the Kiev Post, "In with the old for peculiar Russian holiday" 12 January 2001