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With all of the devastating circumstances that Ukraine has gone through in the past year, many of us have found ourselves reflecting on the beauty of Ukrainian culture and the traditions that shape this country. In Ukraine, certain practices and customs are considered to be part of the country’s culture. Continue reading to discover a few of the cultural traditions that make up Ukraine’s beauty.

Celebrating the New Year Twice

On January 13, Ukraine traditionally celebrates the Old New Year. Although this holiday is not an official holiday, locals still have a chance to celebrate it. The holiday was created due to the changing of the calendars. During the times of the Kievan Rus, people followed a Julian calendar, which was 13 calendar days behind European time. In order to make up for the lost time, the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1918. On January 14 of that year, the holiday became known as the Old New Year and is still celebrated to this day.

Making Pancakes for a Week Straight

Maslenitsa week is a popular holiday in Ukraine. During the time of the former Soviet Union, this holiday was celebrated to welcome spring and see the sun. This is a week before the start of the Great Lent. During this time, the pancake was regarded as a symbol of spring. This holiday is a time of joy and festivity for the people of Ukraine. During this week, they celebrate by preparing and serving delicious pancakes each day.

Having a Picnic at a Grave

In Ukraine, commemoration week ends on the 9th day following Easter. This holiday is linked to the cult of ancestors and has pre-Christian roots. During this period, people visit the graves of their relatives to remember them. The ancient Slavs believed that the deceased loved hearing about their warm memories. Today, even though the church doesn’t approve of having fun at the cemetery, many people still visit the graves of their relatives to enjoy a snack and some food.

Jumping Into an Ice Hole

In Ukraine, people mark the baptism of Jesus on January 19 by jumping into an ice hole. Although the waters are considered to be incredibly cold on this day, the belief that it’s impossible to get sick is rooted in the fact that the waters are filled with healing powers. If you see people screaming and swimming in the freezing waters, don’t be surprised.