The list of official public holidays in Ukraine is usually announced in advance. Some changes may occur during the year, depending on the decision of the government.
If a holiday in Ukraine falls on the weekend then the following Monday will be a free day. Holidays falling on Tuesdays or Thursdays can be transferred to preceding Monday or following Friday.
The government of Ukraine makes an announcement of any changes of the date in the official list of holidays so that to ensure proper functioning of banks, post offices and other important organizations.
List of Public holidays in Ukraine:
January 1 – New Year
January 7 – Orthodox Christmas
March 8 – International Women’s Day
April 20 – Orthodox Easter
May 1, 2 – Labor Days
May 9 – Victory Day
June 8 – Orthodox Pentecost
June 28 – Constitution Day
August 25 – Independence Day
Holidays and ancient traditions in Ukraine
In Ukraine people believed that the evil spirits become stronger for the Christmas holidays.
This is why there is a tradition in Ukraine from ancient times to ask the spirits about future fortune in this period of time.
The next period when Ukrainians ask the fortune tellers about their future is July.
They believed that mermaids are those who got drowned, those who committed suicide, kids who died without being baptized, or kids who were born dead.
They even divided mermaids for several types – those who lived in the rivers, woods and meadows.
It was believed that mermaids could send a storm or spoil the harvest in the fields if they are not pleased. Beside that if they see a traveler they could take him to the bottom or the river or lake and turn him into slave.
Easter and Palm Sunday in Ukraine
Easter and Palm Sunday are the most important holidays in Ukraine.
On Palm Sunday people of Ukraine were going to churches to consecrate the branches of willow trees, bringing them home then to get rid of any illnesses and weaknesses.
Interesting fact is that on Easter it was allowed to ring the bells of the church not only to bell ringers but other people as well.
The first who rang the bell in the morning of Sunday will get the best harvest.
Trinity holiday – Ukrainian traditions to celebrate green holidays
The spring holidays were followed with Trinity.
The main purpose of these holidays was to put a spell on the harvest to get the best one. Ukrainians also call Trinity “Green holidays”. People decorate their houses and fens with green branches of willow.
On trinity holidays young men were praying for rich harvest with special ceremonies. Young woman was decorated with flowers and green leaves and branches of trees. She was walking in the village singing songs.
The real summer ceremonies start from July 7, for Ivan Kupala ancient holiday.
It is strange but this pagan holiday remained unchanged in Ukraine even after the impact of Christianity. The church did not accept, considering as sin holiday, and was struggling as much as it could, but could not forbid it completely.
How people celebrate Ivan Kupala holiday in Ukraine
Ivan Kupala holiday is a conjunction of ceremonies of sun and agrarian magic and to some extend sexual trends. One of the most traditional games during the holiday is jumping over the fire during night celebration.
It was believed that this way non married young men and women would get cleared with the power of the fire. They had to jump three times and the young man who jumped higher than the others would “guarantee” rich harvest to his family that year.
If young men stepped into the fire and fire wood – that was a very bad sign. The night of Ivan Kupala was considered to be the time when evil spirits get the most of their strength.
Any wrong action symbols could not only destroy the harvest but also kill a person. All the evil spirits put maximum of their efforts to harm the mankind.
Discover more about Ukraine and read about some interesting facts from the history and culture.