Customs and traditions

Ukrainian nationalism has been strengthened since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and many are expressing strong patriotism. Some emphasize the unique Ukrainian, through, among other things, language and culture, as opposed to Russian. Others speak Russian and feel great affiliation even with Russian culture, but consider themselves Ukrainians and are proud of their country.

Many of the traditions that have been revived have a religious foundation: Christian holidays are celebrated as are church weddings, baptisms and burials. There are also a wide range of other ethnic groups in Ukraine that to varying degrees maintain their own customs and traditions (see also Population and Languages).

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Ukraine, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.

A visitor can easily praise the country or city you are in. In public contexts one should not point with the index finger, but use the whole hand. It is considered inappropriate to sit on the ground or on a staircase.

Usually punctuality is not very accurate – being a quarter of a second is normal. For a business meeting, it may be appropriate to arrive on time, but be prepared to wait.

Men greet by firm handshake and eye contact, and are happy to repeat the counterpart’s name. In a business context, women can also shake hands, otherwise it is more common with just a nod. Women who know each other well can exchange cheek kisses, and men who are friends sometimes complain about each other.

The gender roles may appear a little old-fashioned for a Westerner.

In formal contexts, one often addresses each other with three names: first name, patronymic icon and last name. A patronymic icon is a family name formed by an extension of the father’s first name – Andrej’s son is called Andrejevich and his daughter Andrejevna, for example. In less formal contexts, Ukrainians often use only the first two names.

According to Abbreviationfinder, Ukrainians often describe themselves as relatively restrained in public contexts; it is considered a virtue not to do too much of it among strangers. In more private contexts, the situation is different. Ukrainians often take pride in showing great hospitality – and the guest can expect to be invited to home-cooked food and plenty of horilka, or vodka. At the table, the guest should taste everything, otherwise it is unpleasant. Toasting is important and usually occurs if at least three people participate at the table. Alcohol is also common in business contexts. You avoid refilling your own glass.

Dinner is the most important meal of the day. It often consists of soup followed by a meat or fish dish and salad. Bread is a staple that is included in all meals and also has a strong symbolic value. In a welcome ceremony that is common even in other Slavic countries, the host often gives his guests bread with salt. Potato dishes are also common.

Borscht is called a variety of soups, which usually contain cabbage or beetroot, and often meats, and served with sour cream. Salo is salted pork and can be eaten as a snack, since it is served in a thin slice of black bread, preferably with garlic and salt.

In the business context, men often dress in dark suits, and women are strictly business-dressed.

Traditional folk costumes, sometimes used for example at weddings, are richly embellished with embroidery and lace. Tissues and embroidery have a central place in Ukrainian folk culture.


The New Year is celebrated much like Christmas in the West, when the children dress the Christmas tree and receive gifts. Many are free for three days. Orthodox Christmas falls on January 7 and is mainly a religious celebration. Even December 25 is now a public holiday.

According to Countryaah, International Women’s Day on March 8 is a holiday, and the workers have two own days in Ukraine, on May 1 and 2.

The Orthodox Easter is celebrated with painted eggs and other things, and Pentecost is also a holiday. The dates vary from year to year.

On Victory Day, 9 May is celebrated in the memory of the Second World War and the victory over fascismen.Författningsdagen June 28 attention when Ukraine gained their first constitution in 1996 and Independence Day, 24 August, when the country became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991 (see Modern History). At the recent holidays, fireworks and military parades are common.

Ukraine Immigration Statistics



Foreigners are thrown out

The government declares 36 undesirable foreign nationals in the country, including Georgia’s former president Micheil Saakashvili, 29 other Georgians, five Americans working for voluntary organizations and a Serb. All are suspected of cooperating with the opposition to try to “destabilize” Ukraine.

Ukraine increasingly closer to Russia

President Yanukovych travels to Moscow where he meets Vladimir Putin. Ukraine promises that Russia will cut gas prices by about 30 percent and buy Ukrainian government bonds for $ 15 billion. The purchase of government bonds is in effect a loan to Ukraine to save the country’s economy in the short term. But the opposition demands information on what the government has promised in Russia and threatens to try to block the settlement in Parliament.

The protests are growing and spreading

Up to 350,000 people, led by several leading opposition politicians, begin the month of continued demonstration in central Kiev for the demand for government resignation. Protesters carry the blue and yellow flags of Ukraine and the EU. Clashes between police and protesters are described as the worst in the country since the Soviet Union disbanded. Members of the Nationalist Party Svoboda occupy Kiev’s city hall. In the city of Lviv, 50,000 people take part in a demonstration, and minor protests against the government also occur in Russian-speaking areas in the east, where Yanukovych usually has the most supporters. In several cities in western Ukraine, local leaders are joining a call for a general strike. The country’s three former presidents after the fall of the Soviet Union, in a joint statement, support the protesters. Leonid Kravtjuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko warn that the situation can be dangerous in a dangerous way. The demonstrations continue this month, and many gather especially on Sundays.


The break with the EU is triggering protests

Over 100,000 people are demonstrating in Kiev against the government, demanding that it tear up the decision a few days earlier not to sign the agreement with the EU. Imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is launching a hunger strike, which she says will last until the government signs an agreement with the EU. Tens of thousands of protesters form human chains in protest. Dozens of people are reported to have been injured in Kiev when riot police disperse protesters demanding that Yanukovych resign and new elections are announced.

The government reverses EU agreements

November 21st

The government orders that the preparations for entering into a cooperation agreement with the EU be interrupted. The government refers to the threat to the security of the nation that would impede trade relations with Russia. Prime Minister Azarov admits a short time later that his government acted on direct demand from Russia to begin negotiating with Moscow instead on strengthening trade relations and economic relations between the two countries. President Yanukovych claims that the EU’s conditions for financial support for Ukraine have been degrading.


Russian ultimatum

Russia demands that Ukraine pay a debt of the equivalent of close to one billion US dollars for delivered gas, otherwise the country could be without gas for the winter.


Ukraine is approaching the EU

Parliament adopts a number of laws designed to make it easier for Ukraine to enter into a free trade agreement with the EU; Among other things, prisoners’ conditions should be improved, customs regulations reformed and court decisions more carefully implemented.


Putin threatens Ukraine financially

Ukraine is told by Russian President Putin that if the country signs a free trade agreement with the EU in November, the Russian-led Customs Union may be forced to resort to “safeguard measures”. The statement is made the days before Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov travels to Moscow to negotiate with the Russian leadership. During a visit to Kiev in July, Putin urged the Ukrainian leaders to join the country in the Russian-led customs union. Russia has exerted pressure, among other things, by stopping imports of Ukrainian chocolate.


The IMF tightens control of Ukraine

The IMF decides to tighten oversight of the Ukrainian economy after the country’s debt to the fund has risen to around US $ 8 billion.


Sentenced ex-ministers are pardoned

President Yanukovych grants former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, former Environment Minister Heorhij Filipjuk and four other people (see February 2012 and April 2012). The judges have been criticized in the outside world for being politically based and the pardons are interpreted as an attempt to persuade the EU to fulfill the cooperation agreement with Ukraine. Yanukovych says he has no legal opportunity to pardon opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko as long as legal proceedings against her are ongoing.


The ex-president’s party is dissolved

Former President Viktor Yushchenko’s Party Our Ukraine is disintegrating. The party’s founding document, seal and flag are handed over to the Museum of the Orange Revolution. In the 2012 parliamentary elections, the party received just over one percent of the vote.


The EU calls for political reform

At a summit between Ukraine and the EU, the Ukrainian government is given a three-month deadline to secure the courts’ freedom from political control and to reform the electoral system. If this is done, the EU will look to sign in November the signed Association and Cooperation Agreement with Ukraine.

The opposition is blocking parliament

The opposition is launching a blockade of the work in Parliament, in protest of what is perceived as cheating by the government.


Tymoshenko is suspected of murder

Tymoshenko is suspected of murder. According to the prosecutor, together with the then Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, she must have ordered the 1996 murder of the businessman and MP Jevhen Sjtjerban. The prosecutor claims that they both paid the equivalent of $ 2.8 million to have the competing businessman eliminated.

Ukraine Culture and Traditions
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