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Ukrainian Traditions and Customs
 
Traditions are an important part of the life of Ukrainian people. Like the similar traditions of other European cultures, Ukrainian traditions are deep and symbolic in their content. Here you can learn the customs and etiquette of Ukrainian traditions.
 

When giving a gift

  • Number of flowers: Keep to the odd number of flowers. Even numbers of flowers are traditionally are given at funerals.
  • Time of gift giving: Usually Ukrainians would celebrate a birthday or a holiday on the exact day or move it to the later day. Even if your gift comes a little bit later, do not worry - it is a thought that counts. If a recipient wishes so, we could also deliver a gift before the appointed date, espcially when it is a gift basket and a recipient would want your delicious food to be served at the holiday table.
  • Greeting cards: Traditionally people give greeting cards to accompany a gift. These greeting cards are proudly displayed several weeks after the holidays and are often kept for years. 

Gifts that have symbolic meaning

Many Ukrainians believe that a gift you give has a special meaning; this is espcially true for house warming gifts.

  • Bread and salt: wishing wealth, prosperity to the home
  • Broom: sweep away the evil; the house will be clean
  • Candle: there always will be light
  • Coins: bring good fortune for the year
  • Flowers: appreciation of the hostess
  • Honey: brings sweetness of life
  • Plant: you will always have life
  • Rice: sign of fertility
  • Wine: wishing joy and happiness to this house

Celebrating an Orthodox holiday

Due to the 13 days difference between Julian and Gregorian calendars, Ukrainians celebrate religious holidays on different days than in teh West. Christmas comes to central, sounthern and eastern parts of Ukraine on January 7th. People who live in the West of Ukraine are often Catholics and celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In fact Ukrainians start celebrating on December 31st when the working day is officially short, and continue fthe estivities until January 14th.
 
Easter is celebrated on a different day every year. For 40 days preceeding the holidays people keep to a special diet, the last week of which (Holy Week) is a strict diet when only vegetarian food is allowed.
 
Both Christmas and Easter are family holidays to which friends are very welcome. Learn more about Ukrainian holidays>>
 

You are invited to a party

  • A bouquet of flowers, a cake, and a bottle of wine would be a good gift for the hosts.
  • People usually dress up for the parties, so it is a good idea to change for dinner. Men can not go wrong with a suit and tie.
  • Watch whether other people wear footwear inside: often people take off their shoes at the door.
  • If you brought a bottle of wine to drink: as a guest you might be expected to say a toast - something nice about the hosts, about the country and about beautiful women present at the party.
  • A hostess usually cooks all dishes by herself, she would ask you to try each dish, may be even few times. It is polite to try everything and of course to praise a hostess. 

You deal with Ukrainian women

  • When you meet a woman for the first time and this meeting is romantic, it is the custom to present her with a bouquet of romantic flowers. She will display your bouquet in her apartment and when you call her for a second date, she will likely be looking at your bouquet while you chat. A beautiful bouquet is a powerful yet thoughtful touch that is a constant and romantic reminder of  your feelings for her.
  • When you got acquainted with a Ukrainian woman while corresponding, sending her flowers moves your relationship to a higher level.
  • When you send flowers to a Ukrainian woman with whom you are romantically involved, consider giving flowers to her mom to make a positive impression. If you do not know what bouquet to choose, go with traditional roses with greenery or better… ask your Ukrainian bride for advice.
  • Open a door for a lady and help her to get in or out of a car.
  • If you are using public transportation, offer your seat to a woman.
  • Help her to put on and take off her coat.
  • Help her to carry her bags.
  • If you invite a lady somewhere, pay for her without asking.
  • See the lady back to her home. If you can not do that is person, call a taxi and pay the taxi driver.

You deal with Ukrainian business partners

  • Deal only with officially registered companies. Do not be shy to ask for registration papers. Walk straight away if you see anything suspiscious.
  • Always carry a business card. One side would be written in English, and the other side in Ukrainian.
  • Your clothes are very important. We have a proverb that "people are met judging by their clothes". For busines meetings a suit and tie would work best.
  • Build personal relationships, which are central for doing business in Ukraine.
  • Consider giving personal or corporate gifts especially to your long-term partners. Find more corporate gifts>>