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Ukraine Snubs Russia By Celebrating Christmas For The First Time

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New Delhi: Ukraine is celebrating Christmas on December 25 for the first time since gaining independence. In a move challenging Russia’s tradition of celebrating on January 7, the Ukrainian government changed the date through a law passed in July. Earlier, Ukraine followed Russia’s Christmas date.

President Volodymyr Zelensky shared a Christmas message on Sunday evening, saying that Ukraine is now celebrating the festival on the same date as a unified country.

“All Ukrainians are together. We all celebrate Christmas together. On the same date, as one big family, as one nation, as one united country,” said Zelensky, as quoted by the news agency AFP.

Ukraine has chosen to celebrate Christmas in sync with the Gregorian calendar, in a move that can be seen as a snub to the Russian Orthodox Church. The latter has historically wielded considerable influence in Ukraine, where Christianity is the dominant faith. The Russian Orthodox Church adheres to the older ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebrations.

“We wanted to support what is happening in Ukraine now. Because changes are always difficult, and when these changes occur, more people are needed to support it for something new to happen,” said Denis, a young Ukrainian man, as quoted by AFP.

Despite this, there are still people in Ukraine who adhere to the Russian Orthodox Church and observe Christmas following its guidelines.

Amidst the ongoing conflict against invading Russian forces, Ukraine is actively erasing connections that tie it to its neighboring country.

Due to its history as part of the Soviet Union, many streets and monuments in Ukraine have ties to Russia. Lately, Ukraine has been renaming these streets and removing such monuments.

The newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine is growing its presence and acquiring several church buildings previously linked to Russia, with the backing of the government.

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