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Ukrainian Christmas Traditions

🎄 Christmas in Ukraine gets celebrated twice - on 25 December and 7 January thanks to the Orthodox and Greek Catholic faiths, which use the old 'Julian' and 'new' Gregorian calendars for their church festivals.

And here in Ukraine, no matter what is going on in the world outside, both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be filled with festive rituals hundreds of years old.

In Ukrainian, Christmas Eve is called “Святий Вечір/Sviaty Vechir/Holy Evening” or “Sviata Vecheria/Holy Supper”.

On this evening, families sit down to enjoy a meal of 12 meatless dishes (including no milk and no eggs) in celebration of the 12 apostles. Typically, these dishes feature cabbage, potatoes, peas, mushrooms, and salted fish, and only begins after the first star appears in the sky - the Star of Bethlehem.

Although the gastronomic choices vary by region and village, Кутя/Kutia, Компот/Compote, and traditional breads are universal components of a Christmas meal at every Ukrainian table. Kutia - a wheat or barley porridge mixed with raisins, poppy seeds, honey, and nuts - is the first dish, which symbolises reunion with relatives who have since departed.

Perhaps the most important determiner of a happy and generous year is the carolling, the blessed songs of which bless the household with happiness, health, and prosperity for the year to come. It is believed that the more carollers who visit a household, the more generous the year will prove!

After the Holy Supper, the fun really begins. One of the activities for young children is looking for nuts in a haystack (usually buried by their parents). If the children find these "treasures," it is believed that the next year will be a productive one for the family.

Postmark Ukraine wishes you a very Happy upcoming Christmas holiday, a delicious Sviaty Vechir, and a copious amount of nuts for all!

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