Thursday, January 7, 2010

Merry Orthodox Christmas!

January 6, 2009. Tonight as the first star appears in the sky, Ukrainian families will gather to celebrate Christmas Eve. The Christmas Eve Supper is steeped in tradition and features a humble and reverent 12-dish meal in honour of the twelve apostles spreading food for the soul throughout the world. 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.

The Christmas Eve Supper begins with the oldest member of the family offering guests a piece of bread dipped in honey as a sign of plenty and family unity. The supper continues with courses introduced one by one starting with kutya, which is cooked wheat sweetened with honey and dressed with poppy seeds symbolizing prosperity, peace and good health, and concluding with dessert featuring "uzvar" - a compote of stewed fruit. 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!) "Slavite Yoho!" (Let Us Glorify Him!) - Merry Christmas!