Ukraine traditionally celebrates Orthodox Christmas on January 7. December New Year fairs have historical roots only in the Greek Catholic West. In the East of the country they are the same cultural borrowing as Halloween or Valentine´s Day. Nevertheless, elegant and organized holidays outdoors are popular among locals and attract a lot of tourists.
In European countries Christmas fairs are the main gastronomic holidays in winter. The oldest European event is Striezelmarkt – a 580-year-old fair in Dresden. According to the canons, festive kiosks, rides and attractions are installed in late November – early December on the eve of Catholic Lent. But modern Christmas markets usually open in mid-October.
New Year’s and Christmas Village will take place in Kyiv on December 14, 2013 – January 19, 2014. City officials planned to create a grand Christmas village in Ukrainian national style on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and on Khreshchatyk St. to popularize Kyiv as a European tourist center. The Kyiv City Council planned holding a fair of folk crafts and sale of Christmas decorations and Christmas gifts, installation of kiosks offering all kinds of festive food and hot mulled wine, as well as an extensive entertainment program.
The opening was planned for mid-December and dismantling – for January 20. Taking into consideration the recent political events on Maidan, the holiday scenario may change in its timing and content. If the Christmas program is implemented, Kyiv residents can expect the festival of chocolate and sweets, master classes in wickerwork, felting and making of sweet toys, ethnic festival Kolyadky, a festival of nativity scenes, an alley of Christmas trees decorated by celebrities and show business stars and even folk-style weddings. For children – fairy-tale telephone booths in which they will be able to chat with Santa Claus, Snow Maiden and Baba Yaga, a zoo corner and an amusement park. Alleged the geography of the Christmas Village is as followes: Khreschatyk St., Bessarabska Sq., Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Sofiyska and Mykhailivska squares and the square in front of the National Opera.
The fair is expected to be open on weekdays from 11:00 to 21:00, on holidays and weekends – from 11:00 to 23:00. On Christmas Day the fair will be open until 3 am.
Christmas Fair in Lviv on December 12 – January 14
Vendors in hundreds of wooden houses will be selling gifts, pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs), embroidery, artistic leather and beads handiwork, ceramics, wicker and linen goods and sweet confectionery gifts in downtown Lviv on Svobody Ave. and Rynok Sq. All goods will be made by Ukrainian producers.
Visitors will also have a chance to taste dumplings, pampushky, honey, hot chocolate and mulled wine. During the fair, you may attend master classes in embroidery, egg painting, the making of motanky dolls, jewelry and pottery. The festive mood will be supported by children´s choirs, folk ensembles and young musicians. The program will also include verteps (Ukrainian folk nativity scenes), dancing and film screenings. Traditionally, the Lviv Christmas Mail will work for everyone eager to send unique art cards with Christmas wishes to any place in the world. On January 7 – 9 the fair will hold the 7th annual Pampukh (Christmas donut) Holiday.
The fair will be open on weekdays from 12:00 to 22:00, on weekends and public holidays – from 11:00 to 23:00.
Folk Christmas Fair in Odesa on January 4–5
The Christmas Fair is the most ambitious charity project in the Odesa oblast organized especially for students of boarding schools, orphanages, family-type homes and children from poor families. Since 2006 the fair has been held by the People’s Church of Odesa and the charity fund Good Samaritan. More than 600 volunteers, 25 organizations and thousands of concerned citizens of Odesa take part in preparations for the event. The holiday will traditionally be held on the territory of the Gamov Public Garden. The program includes excursions around the festive area, a Christmas show for children and a major costume performance, an Olympic village with sports contests and prizes, sledding, a nativity scene and a Ukrainian village, where guests can explore Christmas traditions of Ukrainian culture, enjoy free kutya – one of the twelve traditional dishes served on Christmas Eve – and listen to national Christmas carols performed by a Ukrainian folk choir.
The fair will be open from 12:00 to 20:00.
Christmas fair in Chernivtsi on December 15 – January 20
The fair will be held on Cathedral Square in the historic center of the city. This year, besides the traditional Christmas products, popular craftwork items and souvenirs, the fair will feature a major gastronomic program. The menu will offer dishes from Bukovyna and European cuisine, Christmas baked goods, cocktail tasting and hot mulled wine. Other entertainment includes musical performances by folk bands, quizzes and games. Especially for the fair a Santa’s palace and a nativity scene will be constructed in the style of traditional Slavic architecture.
On weekdays the fair will be open from 11:00 to 22:00, on weekends and public holidays – 12:00 to 23:00.
Christmas fair in Vinnytsa on December 15 – January 7
The fair will be held in the heart of the city in Kozytskiy Park. From 40 kiosks vendors will be selling souvenirs, handmade toys, national clothes, embroidered shirts and sweet Christmas gifts, including gingerbread cookies. The festive mood will be maintained by skomorokhy (minstrels) and the Wolf dressed as the Snow Maiden – a popular character from the Soviet cartoon Nu, Pogodi! (Well, Just You Wait!).
The program also includes amusements for children, throwing rings for adults and a nativity scene to which everyone is welcome. Among special guest stars are popular Ukrainian pop singers Oleksandr Kryvoshapko, DiO.Filmy, Real’O and Indy bands. The highlight of the program will be the show called Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka.
The fair will be open daily from 12:00 to 21:00.