Last week we looked at how Filipinos celebrate Christmas in the Philippines. This week we look at how Ukrainians celebrate this joyous festival in their country.
Instead of celebrating Christmas on 25th December like the rest of the world, Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on 7th January. This is because they use the old ‘Julian’ calendar for their church festivals.
The Ukrainian Christmas Eve is known as ‘Sviaty Vechir’ or Holy Evening. On this day, households will place a lighted candle in the window to welcome those without families to join in the Christmas celebrations.
The Christmas Eve dinner also known as “Sviata Vecheria” (or Holy Supper) is a dazzling feast of 12 dishes representing Jesus’s 12 disciples. There is one catch here though, you cannot start eating the meal until the first star is spotted in the sky. The star signifies the journey of the Wise Men looking for Jesus and that Jesus Christ is born, and that’s when the Christmas feast can begin. The feast consists of dishes prepared with vegetable shortening or cooking oil and they are all meatless dishes. Christmas Eve is also a day of fasting to commemorate the hardships suffered on the road to Bethlehem.
One interesting tradition of Ukraine Christmas celebration is the bringing of a wheat sheaf into the house as a reminder of ancestors and also the tribute to the long history of agriculture in Ukraine.
Have you ever celebrated Christmas in Ukraine before? Share with us by commenting below.