Today, Ukrainians celebrate Zeleni Svyata (Green Holidays), an ancient pre-Christian fertility festival closely linked to the spring-to-summer transition, the cult of the dead and agricultural rites. In modern day Ukraine it is closely tied to and celebrated along with Pentecostal Sunday and Monday.
The insides and outsides of homes are decorated with grasses and greenery, fragrant plants and wildflowers, birch, linden and oak branches – symbols of vegetative power. First, the greenery must be taken to church and blessed by the priest. Grasses and greenery are believed to possess special powers that protect dwellings from evil and magic. Young girls and boys get together, weave wreaths, sing, dance and welcome the summer period.
The Rusalky (water nymphs) were believed to be most dangerous during these days, leaving their watery depths to swing on branches of birch and willow trees at night. Peasant women sometimes hung offerings to appease them. A cross, a magic circle, incense, garlic, wormwood, and verbal charms were used as protection against the Rusalky and other mischievous forest creatures. Swimming was strictly forbidden as these wily mermaids could drag swimmers down to the river floor.
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Courtesy of British Embassy Kyiv (Kiev)
9 May Victory Day travel advice
9 May or Victory Day is a significant and sombre public holiday in Ukraine and marks the end of the Second World War in Europe. During the War, Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union lost between 8-10 million people. The memories of this terrible period run deep in Ukrainian society.
Victory Day on 9 May is widely marked in Kyiv and across Ukraine. As in the UK and other countries, Ukraine has adopted the poppy as a symbol of remembrance an...d reconciliation. Official events are expected to run throughout the day, including flower laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Park of Eternal Glory in Kyiv.
British tourists visiting Ukraine for Eurovision are encouraged to be respectful of all events related to Victory Day. We have seen some reports that certain right wing groups may seek to disrupt the Veterans March in the centre of Kyiv on 9 May. You should stay clear of political demonstrations and large public gatherings and bear in mind the solemnity of the occasion.
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Starting from October 2017 the European low cost airline Ryanair will be flying from Kyiv and Lviv!
On February 20th 2017 Ukraine held events to honour the memory of the "Heavenly Hundred Heroes" who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Ukraine.
In November 2013, Viktor Yanukovych reneged on a promise to sign an agreement with the European Union and instead sort closer ties to Russia and Putin. It sparked a massive civil uprising which became known as Maidan. Under the tyrannical regime of Yanukovych, government forces were ordered to shoot the peaceful protestors. 107 protestors in Kyiv (Kiev) were killed and many injured. Yanukovych fled to Russia along with Billions of dollars stolen from the state budget. Three years after the start of Maidan, the people of Ukraine are still asking why no-one responsible has been brought to justice.
Music Concerts in Kiev 2017
Celebrating Kiev Day
Spring is a wonderful time to be in Kiev (Kyiv). A city full of flowers, parks and gardens. It is a time of hope, renewed optimism and a time to celebrate.
Every year since 1982 the people of Kiev have celebrated Ukraine's capital city. In 1987 the celebrations became an official holiday which is always celebrated at the last weekend in May.
What to Expect
Street performances by various entertainers.
Where is it held
Head to the main street of Khreschatyk in Kiev. The road will be closed to traffic and many events will take place here. This is a great time to immerse yourself in Ukrainian culture and experience the friendly kind people of Kiev in Ukraine.