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Christmas In Ukraine Essay

1052 words - 5 pages

It is difficult to imagine Ukrainian culture without such a paramount celebration as Christmas. For my research, I have interviewed Nadia, native-born Ukrainian, who told me the significance of this celebration in her family, their traditions and her own childhood memories and nostalgia. In Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated in a very special way, preparing to it carefully and keeping old traditions. Ukrainians have developed different rites and ceremonies, fasts and diets, Carrols and divinations to celebrate Christmas. To assist my investigation I have found the history and the ways Ukrainians celebrated Christmas, foods and entertainments they had, cultural features and traditions, showing ...view middle of the document...

We do go to Church to pray for our “happy tomorrow’, but we have never fasted, as I remember”.

Ukrainian Christmas festivities begin on Christmas Eve, sixth of January. The Christmas Eve Supper or “Svyata Vecheria” (Holy Supper) brings the family together to partake in special foods and begin the holiday with many customs and traditions, which reach back to antiquity. Nadia told me that they always had 12 dishes on their Christmas table, representing the 12 apostles of Christ, and only with the appearance of the fist star, which is believed, to be the Star of Bethlehem, their family gathered to begin supper. Nadia’s family always had an extra place setting on their table for the deceased family members, whose souls, as believed, come on Christmas and partake the food.

The first course is always kutia, a preparation of cooked wheat dressed with honey, ground poppy seeds and chopped nuts. It is the main dish of the whole supper. Nadia remembers how her father used to throw kutia to the seal, counting how many grains will cleave, which meant how good will be their harvest this year. This ritual dish, of a very ancient origin, has survived hundreds of generations without losing its importance in the Christmas festivity today. Nadia said that they followed kutia with an appetizer of pickled herrings and mushrooms; than they had traditional Ukrainian borsh (soup), after which comes preparation of fish and several of other traditional dishes: vareniki (Ukrainian dumplings) filled with potatoes, cabbage or cottage cheese; ending with a dessert of stewed dried fruit and fruit vareniki, filled with sour cherries. Also they had the Christmas pastries and nuts. Another traditional dish that always was on Nadia’s Christmas table was kolach (Christmas bread), which was placed in the centre of the table and had a candle in the centre. This bread is braided into a ring, and tree such rings are placed one on top of the other, which symbolized the Trinity and Eternity. Everyone must have at least a small serving of each dish. According to Belasco (2008), Ukrainian traditions of cooking and...

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