January 7th is Christmas Day in Ukraine


If you would travel to Ukraine or other countries where most people are Orthodox Christian today you could get Christmas presents all over again.

In Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, and Montenegro Christmas is celebrated on January 7.

They follow the Julian calendar for religious celebrations, whereas most Western countries use the Gregorian calendar that was created by Pope Gregoray XIII in 1582 to to correct the discrepancy between calendar time and calculated astronomical time.

While each Orthodox Christian country has its own unique traditions, they all include church services and great feasts. Many have their own version of Santa Claus too, like in Russia where Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) deliver presents to the children.

Religious holidays in the communist USSR

Many of the countries with Orthodox religion like Russia or Ukraine used to belong to the USSR. The USSR was under communist rule until 1991. The communist regime was against all religions because the rulers wanted the communist ideas to be the new “religion”. That’s why the main holiday for many people in the former USSR countries still is New Years when families get together and exchange presents.

by Deborah Caine (Whyzz writer)