I visited the Christmas Market in Kyiv during Orthodox Christmas in January 2017
I arrived in Kyiv thinking Christmas was over. It was the first weekend in January, I had returned to work after my Christmas holiday, presents were opened and forgotten, I was ready for a new year. But the first place I visited in Kyiv was the Christmas market. Suddenly I found my Christmas spirit again. Christmas decorations everywhere, glühwein, some delicious christmas food. All of a sudden Santa Claus would walk by. Russian Santa that is, dressed in blue but with an equally long beard. The market really conveyed christmas spirit, something I thought I had lost a week ago.
Orthodox Christianity follows the Julian calender, making January 6 Christmas Eve and January 7 Christmas Day. Christmas celebrations last until ‘Jordan’ or epiphany on January 19th. Christmas eve is filled with customs and rituals, from a special Christmas meal, decoration the house and the singing of carols. Orthodoc Christmas according to the Julian calander is today celebrated in countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, Belarus, Ethiopia, Egypt and Moldova among others.
The Christmas Market in Kiev was huge. The last Christmas market I visited was the one in Gamla Stan in Stockholm. Quite small, not very interesting. I found it disappointing. The market in Kyiv on the other hand, I loved it. Plenty of stands selling all kinds of Ukrainian Christmas food, hot drinks, sweets, snacks, icons and christmas decorations. If it hadn’t been so cold I would have stayed there longer, but stopping too long outside simply wasn’t an option. I had to keep moving.
During my stay in Kyiv I visited the Christmas market several times. It was the perfect place to visit for a quick snack, some Christmas spirit, a glühwein or two. Just like a Christmas market should be. In the freezing cold, a warm cup of Glühwein was perfect for trying to stay warm, the hot liquid warmed your body for a short time at least.
The beginning of January might not be the best time to visit Kyiv. It is cold, many places are closed due to the Christmas celebration, but if you are visiting, make sure not to miss the Christmas market.