How often do you take time to celebrate your family? Perhaps you celebrate birthdays, gather for religious occasions, or simply enjoy regular meals around the table. In Ukraine, families celebrate Victory Day, Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s–Ukraine’s most popular holiday–together. In addition, Ukrainians recognize a special holiday in honor of families. It’s aptly called Family Day.
Another part of Ukraine’s rich culture and traditions, Family Day is a great time for Ukrainians to take a break to cherish the most important people in their lives, perhaps even telling them ya vas kokhayu (I love you). As Ukrainians value extended family ties, it’s common for multiple generations to live together in one house or apartment. Though this is due in part to housing often being limited and difficult to afford in Ukraine, Ukrainian culture also values spending time with family, emphasizing connections between parents and children as well as the inclusion of grandparents.
When is Family Day?
Ukrainians celebrate Family Day every year on July 8th.
When was Family Day established?
Former President Victor Yanukovych established the holiday in 2011. The first official Family Day was celebrated on July 8th, 2012.
Why was Family Day created?
Family Day encourages people to take a break from their busy lives to spend quality time with their family. In Ukraine, family life often takes priority over friends and other activities. The culture values family ties and being part of a community rather than emphasizing individuality. Since family is a central part of Ukrainian society and culture, this day is meant to strengthen family connections and bonds.
How do Ukrainians celebrate?
People often participate in outdoor festivals or picnics, but any event to share time with your family counts! Other events that occur on Family Day include bicycle rides, hikes, or other outdoor activities where Ukrainians can take advantage of enjoying nature with the family.
What foods do people typically eat?
People often grill shashlik (also known as shish kebab) and eat chicken kyiv, stuffed cabbage rolls, and homemade sausages. Food is a source of great pride to Ukrainians. Many family meals are made from scratch with great care. Cooking methods minimize the use of processed foods, while many people even choose to make ingredients like sour cream and mayonnaise themselves!
Family Day serves as a reminder to us all to take the time to celebrate our families. This year, Family Day carries a special significance as many Ukrainian families are separated. We want to acknowledge the difficulty that Ukraine and its people are experiencing. We commend the resiliency of Ukrainians in Ukraine and across the world at this time.