When is Christmas in Ukraine? Date change explained as Volodymyr Zelensky seeks to sever Russian ties
Ukraine has moved its official state Christmas holiday to 25 December as the country makes further moves to cut its religious and cultural ties with Russia
The country will now celebrate Christmas Day on 25 December instead of the traditional date of 7 January. It comes after President Volodymyr Zelensky signed into law a new parliamentary bill which had the aim of abandoning "the Russian heritage of imposing Christmas celebrations".
The cutting of religious and cultural ties to Russia has become commonplace and popular with the Ukrainian public after Moscow invaded the country in February 2022. Alongside the moving of Christmas Day, other notable national holidays have also been moved including Day of Ukrainian Statehood and Defenders' Day, the latter of which celebrates military veterans.
The shift towards religious and cultural independence from Russia has been earmarked for many years before the initial invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has not commented on the latest move.
Why has Christmas Day changed date in Ukraine?
Originally, Ukrainians had celebrated Christmas Day on 7 January in line with the Orthodox Church's calendar. it is believed that around 300million people worldwide are members of the Orthodox Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) had imposed authority in many churches within the country, dating back to the first imperial Russia and throughout the history of the Soviet Union. However, a recent change saw the church's authority scaled back.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was granted independence from the ROC in 2019, a move which angered church leaders in Russia. The OCU had celebrated Christmas on the same calendar as the ROC, however the switch has now been made for Christmas 2023 and onwards.
The move to a Gregorian calendar and away from the calendar used by the ROC has been seen to be a noticeable shift away from cultural and religious ties to Russia, while also shifting the official state holiday to 25 December, when many Ukrainians will already be celebrating the holiday.
While most of the country is expected to recognise the annual holiday on 25 December, there are still members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) that many continue to celebrate in the first week of January. While the UOC announced its independence from Moscow in 2022, many of its officials have been prosecuted for pro-Russian activities.
How else has Ukraine cut cultural tries to Russia?
Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops in February 2022, relations between the two countries have understandably soured. As a result, many changes have taken place throughout the former Soviet state.
The two languages often overlap having been a part of the Soviet Union for many years, with cultural recognition also overlapping in places. However in the aftermath of the outbreak of war last year, Ukrainian streets that had been originally named after Russian or Soviet figures were renamed while monuments to notable Russian figures were also removed.