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Attitude of Ukrainians to public holidays and in particular to March 8

The press release was prepared by the president of KIIS, Volodymyr Paniotto


The research showed that, in general, Ukrainians treat holidays with love and respect. If a year ago 2% of respondents did not regard any official holidays as important or favorite, now there are none left at all.

The majority of the population of Ukraine (approximately 70%) celebrates Christmas and Easter as the most popular holidays, followed by the Independence Day of Ukraine (64%) and the Day of Defenders of Ukraine (58%).

For the year from 2023 to 2024, there were no significant changes, with the biggest changes compared to 2021 (the period before the full-scale invasion). So, the significance of all state holidays has increased. Before the start of the full-scale war with Russia, only 37% of the population valued Ukraine's Independence Day, and now - 64%, that is, 27 percentage points more. The Day of Defenders of Ukraine was popular only among 29%, and now - among 58%, i.e. 29 percentage points more.   

The attitude towards International Women's Day on March 8 has worsened, its popularity has been steadily decreasing in recent years. If back in 2017 this holiday was one of the most beloved and was celebrated as a favorite by approximately half of the population (49%), now only every fifth (21%)


During February 17-23, 2024, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". Bythemethodofcomputer-assistedtelephoneinterviews(CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 1,052 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR of Crimea) were interviewed. The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine controlled by the Government of Ukraine. The sample did not include residents of territories temporarily not controlled by the authorities of Ukraine, and the survey was not conducted with citizens who went abroad after February 24, 2022.

Formally, under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) did not exceed 3.4% for indicators close to 50%, 3.0% for indicators close to 25%, 2.1% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 5%.

Under conditions of war, in addition to the specified formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added. In particular, if in May 2022, among all the respondents we interviewed, 2.5-4% lived in the territories occupied after February 24 (and this corresponded to the percentage of those who live there, because the generation of telephone numbers was random), now due to the occupiers turning off the telephone connection, not a single respondent who currently lives in occupied settlements was included in the sample (along with this, out of a total of 1,052 respondents, 33 respondents lived in a settlement that is currently occupied until February 24, 2022). It is important to note that although the views of the respondents who lived in the occupation were somewhat different, the general trends were quite similar. That is, the impossibility of interviewing such respondents does not significantly affect the quality of the results. There are other factors that can affect the quality of results in "wartime" conditions, which were cited by KIIS earlier.

In general, we believe that the obtained results are still highly representative and allow for a fairly reliable analysis of the public moods of the population.


KIIS regularly (for more than 10 years) asks Ukrainians which public holidays are a priority for them. We ask respondents to choose no more than 5 of the most important or favorite holidays from the list of holidays. The conditional "rating" of these holidays and its change over the years indicates not only the "tastes" of the population, but actually largely reflects the dynamic socio-historical situation and the priority of values.

According to the data of our research (see graph 1), the majority of the population of Ukraine celebrates Christmas and Easter as the most popular holidays, with percentages of 70% and 68% respectively. These data confirm that traditional Christian holidays, which are closely associated with family ties, are still of great importance to Ukrainians.

At the same time, only slightly fewer respondents named Independence Day (64%) and Defender of Ukraine Day (58%) as the most important. High indicators for the Independence Day of Ukraine are evidence of national pride and patriotism. The Day of Defenders of Ukraine is also highly popular, which shows the great respect for servicemen and gratitude for the protection and heroic struggle against the enemy in defense of the independence and sovereignty of the country.

The New Year, with an indicator of 47%, although it remains a popular holiday, takes a lower place in the "rating" compared to previous years, when it shared the first places with Christmas and Easter.

Holidays such as the Constitution Day of Ukraine (28%), International Women's Day (21%) and Trinity (17%) also have some popularity, although they occupy lower positions on the list.


Graph 1.  Which holidays are the most popular (important or favorite) among the population of Ukraine, February 2024



Analyzing the dynamics of the popularity of holidays among the population of Ukraine for the years 2021, 2023 and 2024 (see Table 1), we see that compared to 2021, that is, before the full-scale invasion, significant changes took place, and compared to 2023, they are much smaller.

Christmas and Easter continue to be the most popular, with a slight (within sampling error) increase for Christmas and a slight decrease for Easter in 2024 compared to 2023. This testifies to the stability of traditional religious values among the population, which have an association with family holidays.

The biggest changes occurred in the attitude to the Independence Day of Ukraine and the Day of Defenders of Ukraine.

Independence Day of Ukraine before a full-scale war with Russia, appreciated only 37% of the population, in 2023 - 63%, and now - 64%. In 2013, before the Russian attack on Ukraine, it was one of the least popular holidays overall – only 12% considered it important or favorite. Day of Defenders of Ukraine was popular in 2021 only among 29%, in 2023 - among 54%, and now, in February 2024 - among 58%. That is, almost 30 percentage points more compared to 2021. This is a relatively new holiday that was started in 2014 (then it was called Defender of Ukraine Day) instead of Defender of the Fatherland Day, which was celebrated on February 23. Its popularity at the time of its establishment was very low, and even after several years, in 2017, only 10% celebrated this holiday (the indicatore was lower only on Constitution Day - 5%). Constitution Day of Ukraine after the start of a full-scale war, became twice as popular (from 14% to 28%), and now indicator stands at 28% (the difference from 2023 is not significant), this also reflects the growing importance of holidays specifically associated with the state.



The attitude towards the New Year has hardly changed during the year (insignificant decrease from 52% to 47%), but compared to the situation before the invasion, this holiday has dropped from almost the first place to the 5th.

The popularity of Victory Day (from 30% to 11%) and Labor Day on May 1 (from 12% to 4%) also decreased significantly.


Table 1. How the popularity of holidays changed from 2021 to 2024

% in the column 2021 2023 2024
Christmas 63 69 70
Easter 72 70 68
Independence Day of Ukraine 37 63 64
Day of Defenders of Ukraine 29 54 58
New Year 55 52 47
Constitution Day of Ukraine 14 29 28
International Women's Day 34 25 21
Trinity 17 22 17
Victory Day 30 13 11
Labor Day (May 1) 12 5 4



Let's consider in more detail the attitude to International Women's Day (see graph 2). As we can see, the attitude towards it has deteriorated, its popularity has decreased from 34% to 21% in the last two years (in particular, there is a decrease from 25% in 2023 to 21% now, in 2024). It is slightly more popular among women (23%) than among men (18%). In 2017, this holiday was one of the most beloved, it was marked as a favorite by about half of the population (49%).


Graph2. International Day March 8, % of respondents for whom the holiday is the most important or favorite



Volodymyr Paniotto, a comment on the results of the survey regarding the celebration of March 8


The question about which holidays are most important or favorite depends on the date of the survey. The closer to this holiday, the more often respondents mention it. Therefore, to study the dynamics, we usually ask about holidays every year at the same time (in February). Also, in recent years due to covid, and now due to the full-scale invasion, we are conducting the survey not by face-to-face interview method, but by telephone survey, which also has some effect on the results (see in more details

Graph 2 shows the dynamics of the percentage of people who consider International Women's Day on March 8 as their favorite or important holiday. From time to time, due to the initiative of some deputies or public figures to cancel this holiday, there are discussions about whether it makes sense to do so. From my point of view, unity is now more important than ever for our society, and unnecessary discussions on unprincipled issues only harm the fight against the enemy. In addition, in general, in order to cancel certain holidays that correspond to long-standing traditions, it is necessary to first convince the population and form a positive attitude towards this decision. While there are more than 10-15% of people who are supporters of this holiday, the initiative to cancel it does not seem appropriate, and now the number of supporters is 21% (and among women 23%), the social conditions for this have not yet been created. As we can see from graph 1, the number of supporters of this holiday has been constantly decreasing in recent years at a fairly rapid pace, and in a few years there will be less than 10% of supporters of this holiday (as it is now with Labor Day on May 1 - 5%). Then it will be natural to cancel this holiday.


Annex 1. Formulation of the question from the questionnaire


Which of these public holidays of Ukraine are the most important or favorite for you? Please specify no more than 5 holidays. NO MORE THAN 5 ANSWER OPTIONS


1 New Year
2 Christmas
3 International Women's Day
4 Labor Day (May 1)
5 Easter
6 Victory Day
7 Trinity
8 Constitution Day of Ukraine
9 Independence Day of Ukraine
10 Day of Defenders of Ukraine



Annex 2. Tables


Which of these holidays are the most important or favorite for you? Please specify no more than 5 holidays.


Table 2. Dynamics in Ukraine as a whole from 2013 to 2024, %


  2013 2016 2017 2018 2020 2021 * 2023 * 2024 *
New Year 81 74 76 79 74 55 52 47
Christmas 79 79 80 81 79 63 69 70
International Women's Day 49 37 49 45 40 34 25 21
Labor Day (May 1) 10 7 12 9 11 12 5 4
Easter 83 81 80 82 77 72 70 68
Victory Day 40 35 37 31 33 30 13 11
Trinity 36 34 29 35 31 17 22 17
Constitution Day of Ukraine 4 5 5 5 7 14 29 28
Independence Day of Ukraine 12 20 17 16 19 37 63 64
Day of Defenders of Ukraine Was not Was not 10 11 13 29 54 58
DIFFICULT TO SAY 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
REFUSAL TO ANSWER - - - - - 0 0 0

* telephone survey (CATI), in previous years there was a F2F interview




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