Family traditions in Ukraine you should know about

If you’re dating a Ukrainian girl, it’s recommended to learn more about customs and traditions of her home country. Family traditions in Ukraine are especially important. After all, the two of you are going to build a life-long relationship, and interaction with her parents, siblings and other relatives will become a part of your life. Ukrainian girls stay very close with their families even after they get married and move to another country. So here are a few things to be aware of.

Interesting family traditions in Ukraine for a foreigner to know

Your relationship with parents-in-law

Parents play a very important role in a Ukrainian girl’s life. Needless to say, there are different families and different situations in life, but as a general rule, mother and father are all powerful when it comes to making decisions. This is one of the reasons why you should try to win their trust from the very first days.

Your future wife will keep a very close contact with her parents regardless the distance. Ukrainian mothers tend to be overprotective to their married daughters and even kind of interfering. This is bound to annoy you a bit, but you should understand that she has entrusted you with the biggest treasure in her life.

So don’t get easily disheartened or irritated when you mother-in-law tries to have her ways. She’s only worried about her daughter’s well-being. Of course, it doesn’t mean she should call your wife every five minutes and give her precious advice about your marriage. If you feel she’s becoming too interfering, talk to your partner and express your concern in a gentle manner. She’ll handle it.

And if you want to win your parents-in-laws’ hearts, try to learn some Russian or Ukrainian (whatever language they speak in their family). Language barrier is a very frustrating thing for people of the older generation, and they will definitely appreciate your attempt to become closer to them.

You may also like: How to say “beautiful” in Ukrainian: compliments to pay to your girl

Also, make sure to always say hi to them whenever your wife talks to them on Skype. It’s also nice to have a small talk and ask about their health and how things are going back at home.

You’re expected to be a good decision maker

Young Ukrainian woman in a traditional outfit

According to family traditions in Ukraine, girls appreciate it when a man takes the leading role in a relationship. A western woman would be infuriated if it was suggested to her, or annoyed at the very least.

With Ukrainian women it’s a bit different. They like to let men feel their importance and be proud of their masculinity. This way a man can be encouraged to do what a girl wants him to do. As they say in Ukraine, a man is the head and a woman is the neck that turns this head in whatever direction she feels necessary. A man is supposed to be a breadwinner who is in charge of the family. The more confidence and leadership qualities you demonstrate, the more she’ll like you.

Ukrainian woman wants to feel protected, comfortable and sheltered from the storms of life, and only a strong and decisive man can provide this sort of protection. Unfortunately, the majority of Ukrainian man can’t meet these expectations, and that’s why so many gorgeous single females from this country try to find their happiness elsewhere.

If you’re a shy and introverted guy who finds it difficult to be assertive, you don’t have to force yourself and play someone you’re not. However, your Ukrainian girlfriend should feel that you can be trusted and relied upon in difficult situations.

Important occasions to remember

There are certain holidays that are especially important in terms of family traditions in Ukraine. These days they gather together and have a wonderful time talking, laughing, singing songs, watching TV and enjoying the company of each other. One thing to remember, New Year is much bigger and more important in Ukraine than Christmas.

It’s for the New Year when they decorate the tree, wait for Father Frost to bring presents and send greeting to each other. Christmas was banned during the soviet era, but these days people celebrate it as well. Unlike in the west, Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7th instead of December 25th. This is because of the two weeks between the Gregorian and Julian calendars.

The list of big holidays in Ukraine wouldn’t be complete without the 8th of March, also known as Women’s Day. In the west it’s hardly celebrated, moreover, many western women would take it as an insult if you wish them on this day. Simply because they feel all the days of the year belongs to them, not only this one.

In Ukraine it’s absolutely different. Women are happy to receive bouquets of flowers, beautiful postcards with words of love and appreciation, and small gifts. Families express their gratitude to mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and so on.

Other important occasions a Ukrainian family usually celebrates include birthdays, anniversaries, jubilees and so on. Make sure to take part in family gatherings. Prepare meaningful gifts and greetings. Don’t forget to call or text if you’re not there to congratulate them in person.

Valentine days is getting increasingly popular in Eastern Europe, and they usually prepare small gifts, chocolates and heart shaped cards for each family member. Yes, Valentines’ Day is not only about romantic love, but also about tender feelings to family and friends.


Weddings in Ukraine are usually big, especially in rural areas. If you’re planning to tie the knot in Ukraine, make sure you are ready for all sorts of weird customs and traditions. For example, a bride gets “kidnapped” in the middle of celebration, and you’re supposed to pay some amount of money to “get her back”. After you’re announced a husband and wife, you empty two crystal glasses (usually filled up with champagne or wine) and smash them with all your might. The more pieces are there, the more happy years of life the two of you are going to share.

They’ll shout “Gorko” all the time as a signal for the two of you to kiss. And they’ll vote for the gender of your future baby by putting money into pink or blue nappy. Do you like this sort of family traditions in Ukraine? Then by all means get married in your girlfriend’s country! It will be an unforgettable experience you’ll cherish for years to come (and will make countless jokes about).

Family meals

The cult of food is strong in Ukraine. No wonder the Ukrainian cuisine is considered one of the most delicious and diverse in the world. A mother of the family usually takes a lot of pride in preparing tasty meals. The whole family would gather at the table for dinner enjoying the food and sharing news with each other. Men often drink some alcohol beverage with their dinner, with beer, vodka and wine topping the list.

Some of the most popular dishes of the Ukrainian cuisine include varenyky, mlynci, borscht, golubtsi, pampushky and so on. The majority of beautiful Ukrainian ladies are excellent cooks, so if you like these sorts of dishes, you’ll have them on regular basis after marrying your girlfriend. And family dinners will be a regular thing in your home as well.

Your Ukrainian girlfriend’s family traditions and customs


Ukrainian people are rather superstitious – you’ll be able to figure it out while dating your girlfriend. They believe in “evil eye” and all sorts of misfortunes. Giving an even number of flowers is not acceptable – it’s a bad sign, and such bouquets will do only for funerals. Giving yellow flowers is not good ether – yellow colour is the sign of quick separation. It’s considered a bad luck when someone crosses your way with empty buckets. You’ll have a bad trip if the first person you meet that day is a woman. And many other things like that. You should be aware of them when interacting with your Ukrainian in-laws.

We’ve mentioned only several customs and family traditions in Ukraine to make your integration easier. You’ll discover much more on your own.