Ukraine has officially moved the date of Christmas celebration to December 25th. Parliament approved a bill to this effect. Two other holidays will also be moved.
With this change, Ukraine wants to further distance itself from Russia. According to the Orthodox Christian calendar, Christmas should be celebrated on January 7th. This was the practice in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church until last year. Last year, it was already allowed to celebrate Christmas on December 25th, just like in the West. Now this will also be the official date of Christmas in Ukraine.
The other two holidays that will be moved are Ukrainian State Day and Defenders of Ukraine Day. Ukrainian State Day is associated with the moment in 988 when the Kievan Rus, the ancestor of present-day Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, converted to Christianity. This day is now celebrated on July 14th instead of July 28th. Defenders of Ukraine Day is associated with a holiday dedicated to Saint Mary. It will now fall on October 1st instead of October 14th.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church had previously decided to say goodbye to the Orthodox calendar from September. This means St. Nicholas Day falls on December 6, just as it does in the West, and Epiphany falls on January 6. Easter and other holidays do not change dates.
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