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Zelensky: ‘It's not about how we decorate our homes, but rather how we protect them’

by Alexander Khrebet December 24, 2023 8:24 PM 3 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky delivering his Christmas Eve address in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra on Dec. 24, 2023. (President's Office)
This audio is created with AI assistance

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his Christmas Eve address on Dec. 24 that millions of Ukrainians had learned "another dimension of Christmas" as they once again celebrate this holiday in the time of a full-scale war against Ukraine.

"This Christmas has a different mood, different context, different taste," he said in a video address posted across social media platforms.

"Today, all Ukrainians are together. We all celebrate Christmas together. On the same date, as one big family, as one nation, as one united country,” Zelensky said, standing in front of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, an ancient monastery at the heart of Ukraine’s capital.

‘The time is right for change’: More Ukrainians celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 this year
Ukrainian author Yevheniia Zavalii started celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 back in 2014, “when the rejection of everything Russian” began in her life. Undeterred by criticism from some people that she was breaking away from the traditions of her ancestors and the church, Zavalii stood by her dec…

Earlier this year, Ukraine’s Orthodox Church officially switched to the revised Julian calendar, which celebrates Christmas on Dec. 25, along with most Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. The move aimed to better align with the civil Gregorian calendar and to distance itself from the Russian Orthodox Church, which still celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7.

“Our gifts, values, and traditions have changed. Today it's not so much about how we decorate our homes, but rather how we protect them and clean up the mess, sweeping the enemy out. We rejoice at seeing the first star in the evening sky and not seeing enemy missiles and Shahed (drones) in it,” said Zelensky.

He also said that the wishes of Ukrainian children have changed from “I wish for my dad to come home early from work” to “I wish for my dad to come back (from war).”

“For all the fathers, husbands, brothers, grandfathers to come back. Mothers, wives, sisters. To return victorious,” he said. “All of those who are marking the Christmas Eve in the trenches with weapons in their hands, facing the enemy. All our warriors of light. Guardian angels of Ukraine, who prove to us every day: the good will prevail, the light will prevail.”

The president said that the Ukrainians' common prayer will “unite millions of voices — more than ever before,” resonating together with Europe and the world.

“And this is a unique prayer. For the people, for peace, for justice, a prayer for life,” said the president. “It will be heard in different parts of the world, coming from the hearts of different people, in different languages. And from different denominations. Because this is a prayer for life, and it has no borders.”

Celebrating the Ukrainian way: The 12 dishes of Christmas
The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine has impacted every aspect of life for Ukrainians, even the date they celebrate Christmas. What hasn’t changed is the tradition of serving 12 dishes on Christmas Eve, known as Svyata Vecherya or the Holy Supper. Earlier this year, the Orthodox Church of Uk…
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