Ukrainian Holidays (реферат)

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Ukrainian Holidays

The Ukrainians are just fond of celebrating holidays. They strictly
observe the traditions of Orthodox and Soviet holidays and readily
accept Western holidays like St. Valentine Day, Halloween, St. Patrick’s
Day and so on. A great number of holidays can be divided into several
groups – public, religious and just holidays. Public holidays are marked
with red in the calendar for you not to forget to have a good rest. When
a holiday falls on a non-work day, Saturday or Sunday, the nearest
Friday or Monday is a day-off.

Jan 1 New Year’s Day

…is no doubt the main holiday of the year. According to the most
recent polls about 90% of the Ukrainians have called it their favorite
holiday, everybody impatiently waits for round the year. People decorate
the New Year Tree, cook festive dinners, buy presents, go to numerous
New Year’s parties that are generously held not only at the end of
December but also in the first two weeks of January. There is a saying
that a person will spend the year the way he has welcomed it, so many do
their best to have fun on the New Year’s Day. One usually spends this
day or, to be more precise, evening and night with his family or
friends. The local channels show loved-by-all Soviet films and a few
minutes before midnight, the annual festive address of the President to
his nation is broadcasted. This bright holiday is loved by people of
different ages, but it is especially dear to children. They believe that
Ded Moroz, or Santa Claus, comes this night and puts gifts under the
tree, of course if they haven’t been naughty in the old year.

Jan 7 Orthodox Christmas

…Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the
Gregorian calendar, used in Europe and North America. Therefore the
Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on January 7, 13 days later than the
Catholic world. A very important religious holiday, Christmas wasn’t
celebrated under the Soviets almost during the whole 20th century and
only at the end of 1990s it was resurrected. On January 6th, Christmas
Eve, many families gather for Sviata Vecheria (Holy Supper). The
twelve-course meal is dedicated to Christ’s twelve apostles. The
traditional meals included are kutia (home-made bread with honey and red
poppies), borsch (beet soup), vushka (dumplings filled with onions and
mushrooms), a variety of fish, vareniki (dumplings filled with cabbage,
potatoes, or prunes), andholubtsi (stuffed cabbage). In the last few
years many forgotten traditions like Kolyadki (masked children going
door-to-door to receive candy in exchange for traditional songs and
jokes) have being reviving.

Jan 13 Old New Year’s Day

…The strangest holiday of the Slavonic calendar. In fact, it is also
connected with the conservatism of Slavonic people. After the 1917
Revolution, Russia and Ukraine switched to the western calendar. Before
that time they have been 13 days behind the rest of the world. However,
even though the official calendar was switched, many people did not want
to change and others refused to celebrate New Year before Christmas. The
celebrations are not of such an enormous scale as the ones of the New
Year’s Day and it is not a day off.

Jan 25 Tatiana’s Day

…or Students’ Day. The holiday originates to the 18th century. In
1775, on the day of Maiden Tatiana the Martyr Empress Elizabeth Petrovna
signed the regulation about the foundation of Moscow University, which
went down into history as the first Russian University. In the 18th and
19th centuries this day was celebrated as the Day of Foundation of
Moscow University, but already in the second half of the 19th century it
became a holiday of all the Universities and students. Today, Tatiana’s
Day is a kind and cheerful holiday, when students enjoy the freedom,
youth and coming vacations. Those who have been students decades ago
remember their old good days at universities.

Feb 14 St. Valentine’s Day

… When the so-called Iron Curtain fell down, people of the Former
Soviet Union saw that there are a lot of nice European and American
holidays and have eagerly adopted some of them. There is no point in
describing Ukrainian St. Valentine’s Day as there is practically no
difference from the Western holiday of the same name.

Feb 23 Former Red Army Day

…Men’s Day In Soviet times it was the holiday of all those who had
ever served in the military. While the Soviet Union was rather a
military state, about 90% of men were at some point connected to the Red
Army, so later it became a holiday for men. It is not a public holiday
in Ukraine, but most women make some presents to their male relatives
and friends and do their best to please their husbands and boyfriends.

March 8 Women’s Day

…Originally introduced by the Communists, this holiday has lost its
political content and has become a cultural tradition. On this extremely
popular holiday men are expected to do everything around the house and
give their women the possibility to have at least the only day off from
all that cleaning and cooking. Men present chocolate, flowers and small
gifts to their wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, female friends and

Apr 1 Fool’s Day

…or Humor Day People play tricks on their friends and if they have a
sense of humor then everybody have fun. The best tricks are considered
the ones made before midday.

Orthodox Easter

…The major holiday of the Orthodox religious calendar. It is usually
about two weeks after Catholic Easter. For many people this holiday
starts with church attendance on Saturday evening, where the festive
church service is held and the father, or Orthodox priest blesses
kulichi (traditional Easter cake) and pisanki (painted Easter eggs). The
father greets the congregation repeating many times over: “Christ is
risen!” and the congregation replies in chorus “Indeed He is risen!”
During the day people visit relatives and closest friends and present
them with Easter basket, filled with kulichi and pisanki, which are
believed to posses a spiritual power. Everybody greets each other with
“Christ is risen”, then follows the answer “Indeed He is risen!” and
exchange with triple kiss, the so-called Khrystosuvanni.

May 1 Labor Day

…or May Day. Under the Soviets, it was one of the greatest holidays of
the year – with colorful demonstrations and celebration of the workers
and kolkhozniks, or collective farmers. Today, practically nobody
bothers with parades, transparency and that entire Soviet staff (surely
except for some energetic old people, who try to revive those “good old
days”). People just stay at home and rest. Nevertheless, this remnant of
Communism is unlike to die in the near future.

May 9 Victory Day

…Owning to the closeness of this holiday to May Day, often the first
week of May is weeklong holiday for the whole country. It is a very
important holiday for all the Ukrainians, while you hardly find a
family, which would not suffer from Nazis in the World War II. Large
military parades are held, wreathes and flowers are put on graves of
soldiers and those who died in war. Family and friends congratulate
veterans who wear their uniforms and medals on this day.

Kiev Day

…Each Ukrainian city has its City Day, the day when the city was
founded. Kiev Day is usually celebrated at the last weekend of May.
During two days various performances of popular actors and musicians are
held. Many people from suburbs and even other towns come to Kiev to see
performances, walk along nicely decorated streets and have a great time.
The celebration is usually accomplished with fireworks at about 10 p.m.

Holy Trinity Day

…It comes fifty days after Easter and celebrates the Descent of the
Holy Spirit who poured himself out on the apostles. On this day people
decorate their houses and apartments with greenery, which is a reminder
of the new life that comes through baptism. The wildflowers blessed on
the festive church service are dried up and kept behind the icons, as
they are believed to possess special spiritual powers. For example, if
the mistress of the house puts dried flowers in the garret, they will
protect the house from fire. On Holy Trinity Day young girls make
garlands and throw them in the river or lakes to foresee the future. If
the garland sinks, the girl who made it will die in the following year,
if not, she will get married. This tradition originates from the pagan
holiday celebrating the beginning of summer, which was forbidden after
the Christening of Kievan Rus.

Jun 28 Constitution Day

…It is quite obvious that this holiday commemorates the signing of the
Ukrainian Constitution that took place in 1996. As this holiday is
rather new there are no particular traditions of celebrating it. For
example, in Kiev on the Constitution Day on Maidan Nezalezhnosty Square
concerts of popular Ukrainian singers are held. Besides, on this day you
are sure to hear the hymn of Ukraine, broadcasted on radio or TV or sung
by people in the street.

Aug 24 Independence Day

…In 1991 Ukraine became independent from the USSR and was proclaimed a
Sovereign State. The Independence Day is usually celebrated with
festivals and military parades. If you have a possibility, visit the
performance of military orchestras that is quite interesting.

Sep 1 Day of Knowledge

…The first day of the new school year. Children go to schools;
students go to universities and institutions, where on this day
different celebrations are held. The most spectacular events are at
elementary school. Well-dressed first-year children, bringing flowers
for their first teacher, gather in the schoolyard or in the school to
listen to the first bell ringing. A first-year child, usually a girl, is
carried by a graduating student, usually a boy, and she rings a bell,
thus, opening a new school year.

Nov 7 October Revolution

…Once a great Soviet holiday, since 2002 it ceased to be public, but
you still can see some communist pensioners marching with red flags and
transparencies in Kiev’s streets.

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