Ukraine Shifts Christmas Celebration Date in Defiance of Russia’s Influence

25 December 2023

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church Breaks Away from Russian Tradition, Adopts December 25 for Christmas Celebrations

In a bold move to assert its independence and distance itself from Russian influence, Ukraine has made a significant change to its Christmas celebration date. Traditionally, Ukraine’s Orthodox Church observed Christmas on January 7, in accordance with the Russian Orthodox Church and other Eastern Orthodox countries. However, following Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukraine’s Orthodox Church decided to break away from this tradition and allow its churches to choose December 25, aligning with the Western Christian world. This decision has sparked a wave of celebrations across the country, symbolizing Ukraine’s resilience and determination to forge its own path.

1: A Shift in Tradition

The decision to change the Christmas celebration date in Ukraine marks a significant departure from centuries-old tradition. For generations, Ukrainians have observed Christmas on January 7, following the Julian calendar, which is still used by the Russian Orthodox Church. This alignment with Russia not only reflected religious ties but also symbolized a broader cultural connection between the two nations. However, the recent geopolitical tensions between Ukraine and Russia prompted a reevaluation of this relationship, leading to a break in tradition.

2: Defiance and Independence

By adopting December 25 as the new date for Christmas celebrations, Ukraine’s Orthodox Church sends a clear message of defiance and independence. The decision to align with the Western Christian world not only highlights Ukraine’s desire to distance itself from Russia but also underscores its aspiration to integrate further with Europe. It serves as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with Western values, marking a break from the historical ties that have bound Ukraine to its eastern neighbor.

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3: Celebrations Across the Country

The change in Christmas celebration date has ignited a wave of festivities across Ukraine. From bustling cities to remote villages, Ukrainians have embraced the new date with enthusiasm and joy. Churches have adorned themselves with vibrant decorations, and the air is filled with the sound of carols and hymns. Families gather to exchange gifts and share traditional meals, creating a sense of unity and togetherness. The shift in celebration date has become an opportunity for Ukrainians to reaffirm their national identity and express their resilience in the face of adversity.

4: The Frontlines of Celebration

Even in areas directly affected by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, the spirit of Christmas prevails. Despite the hardships and challenges faced by those living on the frontlines, communities have come together to celebrate the holiday season. In makeshift churches and temporary shelters, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians find solace and hope through prayer and fellowship. The decision to change the Christmas date has become a symbol of defiance against the aggression and a reminder of the unwavering spirit of the Ukrainian people.


Ukraine’s decision to shift its Christmas celebration date from January 7 to December 25 represents a significant break from tradition and a powerful statement of independence. By aligning with the Western Christian world, Ukraine’s Orthodox Church demonstrates its determination to distance itself from Russia’s influence and strengthen its ties with Europe. The widespread celebrations across the country, even in the midst of conflict, highlight the resilience and unity of the Ukrainian people. As Ukraine continues to navigate its path forward, this change in tradition serves as a reminder of the nation’s unwavering spirit and its commitment to forging its own destiny.

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