The Christmas festivities in Ukraine are based in the Julian Calendar, and starts on January 6, Ukraine’s Christmas Eve, till the Day of Epiphany in on January 19.
Christmas dinner in Ukraine is called Sviata Vecherya, or Holy Supper. To remind them of the Nativity story, some hay are placed under the table cloths of the dinning table. The Ukrainian Christmas Dinner usually starts when children see the first star in the night sky. In some farming communities, a few stalks of wheat are placed in a vase and serves as Christmas decoration for the table as well as serves as an important reminder of their heritage and their way of paying their respects to their ancestors. This Ukrainian Christmas Tradition is also called Didukh, or Grand Father Spirit.
In Ukraine, there is what they call the 12 dish Christmas supper or Svyaty Vechir. And one of the favorite dishes is what they call Kutia, or sweet grain pudding. The dishes that belongs to the Svyaty Vechir are rarely served in other occasions during the year.
After the Chirstmas Dinner, Ukrainian families gather around and sing Christmas Carols. In many communities, people form groups and go from house to house and ask for donations. This form of Ukrainian Christmas Carolling is called Koiladky. The world famous Christmas Carol, “Carol of the Bells”, is said to be an inspiration coming from the traditional Ukrainian Christmas Carol, the “Shchedryk”.
The Ukrainian version of Santa Claus or Saint Nicolas is called Svyatyi Mykolai. Svyatyi Mykolai is said to bring gifts to Ukrainian children in the evening of January 19. Children would wake up in the morning and find Christmas presents tucked under their pillows.
Merry Christmas from Ukraine!!!!
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