By Kostas Onisenko
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed the establishment of a series of religious holidays as public holidays in Ukraine. By decree 303/2020, the Ukrainian president appointed the Cabinet of Ministers, in cooperation with the country’s religious organizations, to work on the issue of establishment of new public holidays for the holidays of various religions. According to government sources, the decision concerns at least six new Muslim and Jewish holidays, as well as Western Easter in the West. The same sources indicate that in the future the employer will be able to grant leave to the employee on the days of religious holidays, depending on the employee’s faith.
So far it has become known that the proposals for new holidays concern the Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the Jewish holidays, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, as well as the Western Easter celebrated by the Catholic Church. However, it is possible that other holidays will be added to this list. The purpose of the decision, according to an official source, is “to guarantee the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, the implementation of equal rights and opportunities for all faithful, the respect for the history of culture and traditions of Ukrainian society as multinational and multireligious.”
After examining the issue in co-operation with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, the government should bring the bill to a vote in parliament. At the same time, as part of these initiatives, a few months earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky had stated that the construction of a new mosque in Kyiv would begin soon.