The Washington PostThe Washington Post

In Ukraine, a new wartime debate: When is Christmas?

By Isabelle Khurshudyan

25 Dec 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

A movement to reject everything Russian has begun transforming even the most sacred tradition in Ukraine. The Washington Post reports how Christmas has become political for many Ukrainians.

KYIV, Ukraine - Nadiya Zalenetska rushed into the small chapel with a pink bundle in her arms - her 2-month-old daughter, Lyubov, wrapped in a thick blanket. Zalenetska had covered her hair with a red shawl, fitting for a Christmas she was observing two weeks earlier than she ever had before.

Like many Ukrainians, Zalenetska had always known Christmas Day as Jan. 7, according to the Julian calendar used by the Russian and Ukrainian branches of the Orthodox Church. But a movement to reject everything associated with Russia, 10 months into its invasion of Ukraine, has begun to transform even the most sacred traditions.

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