Ukrainian Canadians Celebrate Christmas

OTTAWA, Jan. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Tonight as the first star appears in the sky, Ukrainian Canadian families will gather to celebrate Christmas Eve.  Sviata Vecheria (the Christmas Eve Supper) is steeped in tradition and features a humble and reverent 12-dish meal in honour of the twelve apostles.  The dishes contain no meat or dairy products to show respect for the animals that shared their place of shelter and were present for the birth of Christ.

On Jan. 6 (Christmas Eve) the traditional dinner table has a few sheaves of hay under an embroidered tablecloth as a reminder of the manger in Bethlehem.  A decorated sheaf of wheat or "didukh", symbolizing the harvest, is placed in a corner of the room under an icon, with each kernel of the didukh denoting the spiritual presence of family and forebears. All are called to the table when the first star appears in the eastern evening sky.

"Christmas on Jan. 7 is a centuries old tradition based on the old Julian Calendar that is celebrated by both Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic Churches," commented UCC National President Paul Grod, UCC National President.  "We wish our Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic brethren all the best during this Christmas season."

Carolling begins after the Sviata Vecheria as groups of carollers go from house to house.  Ukrainian Christmas carols ("koliadky") are a part of the rich Ukrainian oral tradition and through them one can trace the Ukrainian historical experience to antiquity.

Khrystos rodyvsia! (Christ is born!) "Slavim Yoho!" (Let Us Glorify Him!) - Merry Christmas!

SOURCE Ukrainian Canadian Congress

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Taras Zalusky
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