Christmas in Ukraine

Christmas in Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. The Capital and largest city of this country is Kiev.

“Holy Supper” also known as Sviata Vechera is the main traditional celebrations in Ukrainian which begin with the first Star in the eastern evening sky, which symbolizes the trek of the Three Wise Men. The dinner table sometimes has a few wisps of hay on the embroidered table cloth. In farming communities the head of the household now brings in a sheaf of wheat called the didukh which represents the importance of the ancient and rich wheat crops of Ukraine, the staff of life through the centuries. Didukh or grandfather spirit symbolizes the family’s ancestors. In city homes a few stalks of golden wheat in a vase are often used to decorate the table.

Christmas in Ukraine

A prayer is said and the father says the traditional Christmas greeting, “Khristos rodyvsya!” and in reply the family sings “Slavite Yoho”. In some families the Old Slavic form Khristos razhdayetsya is used. At the end of the Sviata Vechera the family often sings Kolyadky which is a Ukrainian Christmas Carols. In many communities the old Ukrainian tradition of caroling is carried on by groups of young people and members of organizations and churches calling at homes and collecting donations.

The favorite Ukrainian carol is Boh predvichny meaning God Eternal which has a very beautiful melody and lyrics. Some Ukrainian carols are unusual because they mention Ukraine while others are ancient pagan songs of a thousand years ago which have been converted into Christian carols. Christmas is a joyous day which opens for Ukrainian families with attendance at Church. Ukrainian Churches offer services starting before midnight on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning. Christmas supper, without Lenten restrictions, does not have as many traditions connected with it as Sviata Vechera. The old tradition in Ukraine of giving gifts to children on St. Nicholas Day, December 19th, has generally been replaced by the Christmas date.

The traditional Christmas customs of Ukraine add color and significance to the winter festival of Christmas, and Ukrainian Christmas on January 7th is usually a peaceful and quiet event. This celebration reminds us of the baby in a Bethlehem manger whose birthday we celebrate. In the Ukraine, Father Frost visits all the children in a sleigh pulled by only three reindeer. He brings along a little girl named Snowflake Girl. She wears a silver blue costume trimmed with white fur and a crown shaped like a snowflake.

We wish all readers Merry Christmas 2013 & Prosperous New Year 2014 !!!