Ukrainians Together UK Logo

When is Easter celebrated in Ukraine and what is the special feature of the Easter Egg tradition?

Easter in Ukraine

Easter is also the most important holiday in Ukraine Easter is the most important holiday in Christianity. Christians celebrate the transition from death to life, the release of a person from the burden of sins, it is the way to freedom, love, and goodness. In Western Christianity, Easter is the holiday of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The name comes from the Old English word Ēostre, which corresponds to the month of April. In Latin and Greek, the Christian celebration was, and still is, called Pascha (Greek: Πάσχα), a word derived from Aramaic פסחא (Paskha), cognate to the Hebrew פֶּסַח‎ (Pesach). The word originally denoted the Jewish festival known in English as Passover, commemorating the Jewish Exodus from slavery in Egypt.  In Ukraine, the holiday is also called Пасха [Paskha] or Великодень [Velykoden], which translates into English as The Great Day. Featured image credit (Ukrainian Easter Bread called Paskha) Elena Mozhvilo via Unsplash. When will Velykoden be celebrated in 2023? This year, the Ukrainian Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches celebrate Easter on April 16 because they follow the Julian calendar. The Ukrainian Roman Catholic Church celebrates Easter on April 9, because in 1582 it switched to a new calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII and known as “Gregorian” or “new style”. The introduction of the new calendar, and accordingly Easter, was an astronomically justified decision because the old Julian calendar at that time lagged behind the astronomical time by 10 days. Featured image credit (Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and Holodomor Genocide Museum) Eugene via Unsplash. What are the main Ukrainian traditions? Families prepare for Easter during seven weeks of Great Lent, that is, approximately 50 days. Great Lent is considered one of the strictest fasts – that’s how much time Jesus Christ spent in the desert. It is believed that in these days the soul of a believer should sympathize with the Lord’s sufferings, which Jesus Christ experienced in human form in the last days. During the fast, meat and dairy products are prohibited, people mostly eat plant foods and sometimes fish is allowed. Maundy Thursday is of special significance, the day when Jesus shared the last meal with his disciples during the Last Supper. This day is also called Maundy Thursday, and all Orthodox try to take communion whenever possible. In the evening, the 12 Gospels are read in the church, where the story of Christ’s Passion is told. On Good Friday, the Shroud is taken out of the church – a piece of cloth in which the body of Christ was wrapped after it was taken down from the cross, and on which it is depicted in the coffin. This tradition arose in order to remind us of the Shroud of Turin. During the service, the shroud is wrapped around the church three times, symbolizing the ascension of Christ. It is prescribed not to eat anything on this day of mourning. In the evening of the same day, there is a special service, Matins of Holy Saturday. The most famous Ukrainian tradition is the coloring of the Easter egg, which is also called Pysanka In the Orthodox Christian tradition, there is a gorgeous egg painting technique that has been passed down through generations of Central and Eastern European families, dating back to ancient times: they are called pysanky eggs! Ukrainian pysanky eggs are decorated using a wax-resist method, resulting in unique Easter egg designs that are deeply symbolic and meaningful. Making pysanky eggs is a labor of love that requires patience, attention to detail, and a steady hand. It’s a beautiful and rewarding craft that all ages can enjoy. Read about the experience of the New Bedford community finding a connection to Ukraine. Featured image credit (Pysanka) Tim Mossholder via Unsplash. Ukrainian culture is reflected in Eurovision Easter art in Liverpool As part of EuroLearn, Liverpool City Council in partnership with Liverpool ONE, has commissioned six artists to work with schools and members of the Ukrainian community to decorate giant eggs. Read about the amazing project of artist Amrit Singh (MrASingh) which promotes Ukrainian culture. Featured image credit (Amrit Singh and Pysanka Egg) Liverpool City Council. Best wishes from the Community of Ukrainians Together in Scotland and Happy Easter! In case you have missed our previous post about Ukrainian culture please read our post about How to say Merry Christmas in Ukrainian.

How to say Merry Christmas in Ukrainian

Photo of Carnival in Lviv

Christmas and New Year in Scotland and Ukraine Christmas and New Year is a time of celebration and good fortune. It’s a time of feasting, family and friends. While there are many similarities between these holidays and others across the world, there are also some unique differences. In this guide we’ll show you how to say Merry Christmas in Ukrainian along with how to sing Auld Lang Syne with Scots on Hogmanay. Learn how to say Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year in Ukrainian “Merry Christmas” is written щасливого Різдва in Ukrainian. It is pronounced shchaslyvoho Rizdva. [vitaju (tebe/vas) z novym rokom i rizdvom] – Congratulations (to you) on New Year and Christmas! If you would like to learn more Ukrainian, you can find a helpful podcast and other great resources by a professional Ukrainian teacher based in Ukraine here. Ukrainian Christmas and New Year traditions Just like Scotland, Ukrainians decorate Christmas trees, sing carols, gather with family and give gifts. Celebrations begin on Christmas Eve (January 6th), called Sviatyi Vechir or Sviatvechir in Ukraine. Some people fast for the day until the first star is seen at night, and then they have a special supper made up of 12 dishes. The most important dish is Kutia, made of boiled wheat with poppy seeds and honey. The Ukrainian Christmas is usually celebrated on January 7th. This is because the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Catholic Church mostly use the Julian Calendar. People go from house to house singing Christmas carols. Some people give children sweets when they come to a house caroling, a bit like Halloween in Scotland. Although many decorations are the same, something unfamiliar that you might see is the didukh. It is a shead of wheat and symbolises ancestors spirits, also referencing Ukraines history as the breadbasket of Europe as far back as ancient Greece. The New Year in Ukraine is celebrated on January 1st, but there is also a second traditional holiday called “old New Year” which takes place on January 13th. There is often a big carnival called Malanka with costumes and pranks. This festival is based on much older pagan celebrations. There are some amazing resources online, but the sites Ukrainer and Ukraine Now have some fascinating insights into different regional traditions and cultures if you want to explore further. You can also explore the full Ukrainian Culture category on our blog. Scottish Christmas and New Year traditions The Scots have many interesting Christmas traditions. Firstly, St. Andrew’s Day (November 30) is celebrated as the official start of the holiday season in Scotland. It is important because St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. This day is the feast day of St Andrew the Apostle. It is particularly associated with the town St Andrews in Fife, where there is often a celebration and festivities. In Ukraine St Andrews day is actually on the 13th of December. The flag of Scotland is the Saltire, but is also called the St Andrews cross. St Andrews Day is an official bank holiday since 2006, though many employers and schools will remain open. Here is a video of people partying and having a ceilidh from a few years ago in St Andrews: On Christmas Day itself, most families open presents from Santa Claus which are traditionally placed on the end of children’s beds or under Christmas trees wrapped up in pretty paper. People also give gifts to one another. They also eat large quantities of festive foods such as turkey accompanied by all kinds of vegetables such as roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, peas, red cabbage, broccoli and more and drink alcohol. New Years or Hogmanay is a big celebration in Scotland. Traditionally people will gather for parties on New Years Eve and even go from party to party in cities. There is usually a live concert and televised event at Edinburgh castle which many people will watch on their TVs with family. At ‘the bells’ (the moment when in turns midnight) people usually sing the song Auld Lang Syne and shake hands and hug. Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and later set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The song’s title may be translated into Standard English as “old long since” or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by” or “old time’s sake”. The song begins by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships. After ‘the bells’ at midnight Scots take part in a tradition called “first footing” which refers to the first person to step over the doorway into a home in New Years Day itself, people traditionally eat steak pie with family. There is lots of information about Scottish traditions online, or you can explore the Scottish Culture category on our blog. We have a lot more in common than differences We hope you enjoyed this brief look at Ukrainian and Scottish Christmas and New Year’s traditions. Although there are a few differences, there is much more in common, including some of the more unusual aspects – St Andrew is the patron saint of both countries, many Christmas traditions are the same and both places also practice the tradition of ‘First Footing’. What are your favourite holiday traditions? We couldn’t possible cover all traditions of these wonderful countries, especially regional ones. Let us know in the comments below what your favourite traditions are for this time of year. If you know anyone now staying in Scotland or hosting people from Ukraine, please share this post with them so that we can celebrate together. These traditions are a great way for people to connect with one another so lets make the most of the holiday season and get to know our new neighbours. Featured image credit (carnival in Kyiv) Margarita Marushevska via Unsplash.

About training

Help to empower refugees to find work and socially integrate Our intention is to help organisations more effectively and empathically engage with their new residents, and to help Ukrainians deal with that trauma and allow them to better integrate and move forward with their lives thus contributing to the local economy and community. Background Having experience in resolving conflicts as in legal procedures and alternative dispute resolutions we can offer our knowledge and skills in emotional support, basic communication skills, and resolving conflicts peacefully transforming them into educational courses that were already held in Ukraine before the war. Knowledge Take lessons learned from successful academic and highly skilled work in Ukraine, specifically: Experience Combine them with specific lived experience, namely being refugees that have fled Ukraine and now live in Scotland Creativity Use that mix to share techniques and lessons with both local organisations in Scotland and refugees themselves to negotiate cultural differences, trauma and grief and the stress of change What is purpose The war brought grief to every Ukrainian family. During this time, more than 12 million people were forced to leave their homes and seek safe housing in other regions of the country or beyond. UNICEF reports that almost two-thirds of children in Ukraine are internally displaced persons or have left the borders of Ukraine, hiding from the war. Obviously, people don’t have much experience and the ability to deal with emotions, uncertainty, and financial instability. In this way, people could be carefully supported on how to do it and get an understanding of their emotional state. The most important for each person have their own perspective and to feel their life under control. We want to deliver an understanding of emotional balance and effective communication skills through theoretical lectures and practical exercises to form a list of tools that could be used in everyday communication, especially, in searching for work, accommodation, and resolving communication issues. What it is about Based on Kolb’s experiential learning model it is 12 hours educational course on the four topics: The course structure consists of face-to-face lessons on theory, media-content, practice, sharing experiences, and giving feedback.