Waiting for Christmas miracle, Kyiv cast off shackles of rush and turned into a quite city. The majority of citizens stayed home with their families eating Christmas pudding. However, despite the silence, ForUm went out in the streets and holy places of the capital to see how and where Ukrainians celebrate the holiday.  

Not far from "University" metro station, we met professional Christmas carol singers. They call themselves "Buttya" group and seek to restore texts of carols, lost in time. With the first star, according to the ritual, they go to sing carols from house to house. However, the group admit, not everyone opens the door.

"First of all, Kyiv is big, and it is impossible to sing in every house. Secondly, many people do not even open the door. Thus, we go where we are expected - towns and villages, where we collect texts of carols, record them and reproduce in the original, authentic tone," Oksana But says (on the left).

Then ForUm went to the Volodymyr's Cathedral. We cannot say that evening Christmas service gathered many Christians, but the flow of people was regular. Single and families were coming to listen to the service, pray and light candles.

For the Balitskis family, going to church for Christmas Eve is a tradition.

"On big holidays like Christmas and Easter we always go to church and we try to teach our grandchildren this tradition. We take them with us every time we go. After the service we will go home for the dinner and will praise the Christ," head of the family Stanislav Balitski says.

Olena and her daughter Viktoria admit they do not go to church very often, but on Christmas Eve consider it a duty.

"Deep in my heart I am a believer, but I don't get to church very often. However, on Christmas and Easter I consider it my duty to attend the service," Olena says.

"For me, it is already a tradition to go to church on Christmas Eve with my mom," Viktoria adds.

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral also welcomed people on Christmas Eve. Someone came to pray, others to praise the glory and beauty of the holy place.

"We live in an orthodox country, and Christmas is one of the greatest holidays. We visited the Cathedral on our way to funicular, though we do not o to church often," Anastasia and Oksana say.

After the evening service, some people were visiting the History Museum of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral. ForUm also decided to see what is behind the imposing doors.

Having climbed the stairs up to the bell tower we were once again impressed by the magnificent city view.

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was especially crowed on the Christmas Eve. Even foreign guests came to see the historical monument.

Margarita and her husband have come to Kyiv for the first time and went straight to Lavra. "This place is so healing and people are so kind," the guests of the capital shared their impressions.

Many Kyiv residents also went to sing carols to the Christmas tree on Maydan. The main square of the capital welcomed all comers.  Funny Santas, horses, swings and other entertainments were waiting for both adults and children.

ForUm congratulates all Ukrainians with the cheerful holiday of Christmas and wishes you kindness in heart and clear thoughts in mind!

Tetyana Matsur, photos by the author


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