Christmas in Lviv - fairytales and kindness

Marusia Bilous | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you want to get into a real Christmas tale, feel the warmth and joy of the people that welcome you to Lviv. I assure you - you have never seen such a Christmas spirit and kindness before. After all, the people of Lviv especially cherish the traditions, and from the day of St. Nicholas, until Christmas, the city turns into a true fairytale with many interesting attractions and events. So, dress warmly, make a big cup of hot milk, and enjoy the magic of Christmas holidays in Lviv.

Christmas market and the main Christmas tree of the city

On December 18, on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, the lights of the main Christmas tree are lit in Lviv. This is how the Lviv fairytale begins. For many years, the largest green beauty of Lviv has been located near the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theater. In the summer, guests of the city and the residents enjoy the beauty of the magic fountain, and in winter, the square near the opera turns into a true Christmas wonder. Each year at the beginning of December, charming wooden houses begin to set up on Svoboda Avenue (the square near the opera house). Thousands of beautiful lights set fire at one day and a holiday that lasts more than a month begins. You may get lost at the Christmas market because of all the souvenirs you'll want to buy and all the dishes you'll want to taste. Trust me, you want to buy everything there – because it looks and tastes like a small wonder

© iStock /dmf87

However, I’ll tell you some tips and tricks, for example how not to spend all your money in the first 15 minutes. If you want to bring home a genuine Lviv souvenir, then you should pay attention to the shops selling homemade honey, knitted socks, gloves, scarves, and decorations for Christmas tree. You can also buy traditional Ukrainian embroidery or doll motanka. At the Christmas Fair, you can organize a true gastronomic tour. In frosty weather, be sure to warm yourself with a cup of mulled wine with a variety of spices and pieces of fruits. Besides, you can taste a little bit of crafted honey vodka - the mild taste and warmth will enchant you from the first sip. Also, be sure to try pumpukh (Ukrainian donuts with different fillings: poppy, cherry or jam). If you decide to eat something, then try grilled dishes – different kinds of meat, fried ribs, fat with garlic, and a variety of potatoes. 

© iStock /Smitt

Skating rink and Rynok Square

Another traditional attraction in Lviv is the ice skating rink, which is installed on the main square of Lviv - Rynok Square. This is a kind of old tradition - even before the First World War, skating rinks were filled with locals in this place. This tradition restored in 2007. Rynok Square is a continuation of the Christmas Fairytale on Svoboda Avenue, as it also houses a wooden fair. One more unchanging tradition is a Nativity scene that sets up at the entrance to the Lviv City Hall - a special exhibition with beautiful sculptures representing the birth of Jesus. Ukrainians celebrate Christmas at different dates, depending on which church they belong to. Therefore, we always have two Christmases - the first one on December 25 and the second on January 7. However, it is on January 7 that most Christmas entertainment happens in Lviv. Every year on the Rynok Square and near the main Christmas tree on Svoboda Avenue, they set up sites where the nativity scene plays out. Everyone, even the least religious people, knows Christmas songs. If you want to experience a true Ukrainian Christmas with a special atmosphere of fairytales and kindness, then you have to come to Lviv.

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