Ukrainian Christmas comes to Manitoba

Ukrainian Christmas comes to Manitoba, Iryna Chyrkova

For most residents of Manitoba, the festive season is over. However, not for everyone. The holidays are just getting started for those who follow the Julian calendar.

The Ukrainian community in Manitoba is preparing to celebrate Christmas on January 7th. One of the representatives of the community told about the celebration in his family. First, the whole family gathers at a festive table, which should consist of 12 lean dishes, and then his family members will throw kutya, a sort of pudding, at the ceiling.

"And if it sticks, it will be a bountiful harvest and a good year, and if it falls down, you better make a better batch next year," Andriy Michalchyshyn said.

Alycia's Restaurant's new location at the Royal Albert Arms Hotel Sunday is actively getting ready to welcome Ukrainians on Sunday.

"So for Ukrainian Christmas it's usually meatless dishes, twelve meatless dishes, so that includes pickled herring, we've got meatless cabbage rolls, and our beet borscht … a lot of the stuff that we've served over the years, " said Aaron Blanchard.

Katrusha Basarab also celebrates Christmas according to the Julian calendar. The woman said that there is a tradition in her family to feed pets on Christmas evening especially tasty and thus to show them their love and appreciation.

"There's something very comforting to me about going through some of these rituals and motions and knowing that as you're you know cooking a particular food item that you only eat once a year that that's the way your mom does it. That's the way your grandmother did it. That's the way your ancestors before them did it," she said. "It's tradition is so strong that even during times of adversity or separation, it's the thing that you cleave to, I think."

Andriy added that the older he becomes, the more he honours the traditions of his people and is proud of who he is.

"So it keeps me tied to my roots and I have to say, I probably didn't appreciate as much when I was younger. But you if you go on with it, you learn to love it more and more each time I would say."

Ukrainians are not the only nation that celebrates Christmas on January 7th. Many Russians, Macedonians, Serbs and other nations who follow the Julian calendar live in Manitoba.

We congratulate all the Orthodox inhabitants of the province on the upcoming holidays! 

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Julian calendar Christmas Ukrainian community in Manitoba
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