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Orthodox Pentecost

Orthodox Pentecost 2017 and 2018

In Ukraine, Orthodox Pentecost has been celebrated as a major Christian holiday for hundreds of years, and it continues to be kept with great fervour today.

YearDateDayHoliday
20174 JunSunOrthodox Pentecost
5 JunMonOrthodox Pentecost Monday
201827 MaySunOrthodox Pentecost
28 MayMonOrthodox Pentecost Monday

However, Ukrainians often refer to Pentecost as “Triytsya“, meaning “Trinity Sunday,” besides as “pyatydesyatnytsya”. which means “Pentecost”.

Around three-quarters of Ukraine’s 43 million people say that they believe in God, but only 37 percent say they attend church regularly. Most of those who are religious in Ukraine identify as Christians, and the largest Christian denomination has long been Eastern Orthodoxy.

Catholics and other Christian groups living in Ukraine may celebrate Pentecost as well, but not necessarily on the same date. Orthodox Pentecost is based on the Julian Calendar, while Catholic and Protestant Pentecost is dated using the Gregorian Calendar. Both dates are based on being 50 days after Easter, but Easter is often a week or so ahead on the Orthodox calendar.

Many churches in Ukraine will hold special services on Orthodox Pentecost, but there are many traditions and events outside of the church as well. For example, people will sometimes decorate their houses with the calamus herb, grasses, garlands, and with green branches, which is why Pentecost is also called “Green Sunday” in Ukraine. Many will visit the graves of deceased loved ones on Pentecost as well, leaving food items at the grave sites.

Pentecost is also a wonderful time to get out of doors in Ukraine, for it is the time when the land turns its greenest. It is also the time when farmers will mow and harvest their hay crops, however, so those with allergies should take proper precautions.

Many shops and government services will close down for Orthodox Pentecost, but there will also be many places still open for the enjoyment of tourists.

Things to do for those visiting Ukraine during Orthodox Pentecost include:

  • Attend special “Trinity Sunday” services in a Ukrainian church. There are many Orthodox churches that are specifically named “church or cathedral of the Holy Trinity,” several of them being located in Kiev. But the Church of the Holy Trinity located right next to Kiev’s Pechersk Lavra Monastery stands out as a great choice. The monastery dates from the 12th Century, is extremely decorative with numerous icons, and has an extensive system of catacombs on-site.
  • You will find there are many entertainment events scheduled for Pentecost in Ukraine, but some of the most interesting to attend are the skomorokh shows, which means “clown acts.” These are a good example of Ukrainian humor and culture that you will not soon forget.
  • Get out and see nature’s beauty on “Green Sunday.” One of the best places to do so, while learning of Ukrainian history at the same time, is on Khortytsia, an island in the Dnieper River. You will find groves of oaks and other trees, grassy meadows, and a marshy area at the south end of the island. You will also find the Zaporizhian Cossack Museum and its live Cossack-style horse show.

Pentecost is a major holiday in Ukraine, both in and out of the church building, and it will not be hard for the tourist to find plenty of enjoyable activities.