Orthodox Christmas holidays in Lviv is a merry affair. Every year this city in the Western Ukraine attracts thousands of visitors, who are looking to experience the magical winter fairy tale in the heart of the medieval town filled with European Christmas atmosphere.
«Destinations» brings you a list of Christmas festivities happening in Lviv over the upcoming weekend.
Traditional Didukh ritual in Lviv city center. Didukh, traditional Ukrainian christmas ornaments - made from a sheaf of wheat, it is a symbolic sacrifice taken from the best of the autumn harvest, is the main Christmas symbol. Sometimes it is called as didochok or snip-rai (paradise sheaf). It is considered to be the embodiment of the ancestor’s spirit and race memory. This ancient ritual confirms the ancestors’ great honor and respect for their pedigree. Didukh is the symbol of fertile harvest, peace and wealth. In 2018, Didukh will be put on January 6th at noon on Yavorsky Square.
International Vertep Festival became a good tradition of Lviv Christmas fair and gathers dozens of folk bands from all over Ukraine. Vertep Festival will be happening at the main stage of Lviv Christmas Fair not far from the Opera House on Svobody Avenue. Vertep, the Ukrainian Christmas puppet theater, is a group of people going from house to house, showing short Biblical themed scenes and carol singing.
To get a glimpse of unique cultural identity that miraculously survived on the outskirts of modern Europe go the Shevchenkivsky Gai on January 7th, 8th or 9th, 2017. «Ukrainian Chrismas in Shevchenkivsky Gai» folk festival will be happening for these 3 days, where you can discover authentic Ukrainian Christmas traditions, listen to the oldest Ukrainian Christmas carols and taste traditional Ukrainian Christmas food and drinks. Shevchenkivky Gai is an open-air museum that displays different regional styles of farmsteads, windmills, churches and schools which dot a huge park to the east of the city center. Everything is pretty spread out here and a visit involves a lot of footwork.
Read: The Tradition of Singing Christmas Carols in Ukraine
«When Angels descend on Earth» laser show became a traditional Christmas show in Lviv performed by local «Voskresinnya» Theater. This performance is one of the most popular winter events in Lviv. Actors create truly magical show that words cannot describe. It is a mystical and whimsical concoction of theater art, play of light on Ratusha walls, fire show and industrial alpinism. There will be several shows over the Christmas weekend: January 7th, 8th, 2018 at 4 PM, 5PM, 6PM, 7PM, 8PM.
«Velyka Kolyada» Festival (The Grand Christmas Carols Festival) will be happening from January 7th till January 21st, 2018 on Museum Square in Lviv. Ukrainian Christmas songs or carols have their origins in antiquity, as do many other traditions practiced at Christmas time. Caroling in Ukraine was not a simple singing of Christmas songs, it required extensive preparation. The dressed up group of carolers in Ukraine is called vertep. Carols singing is an interesting and authentic Ukrainian tradition well preserved till these days. Through traditional Ukrainian carols foreigners can get a glimpse of a unique cultural identity that miraculously survived through many centuries and «Velyka Kolyada» Festival is a great event to see.
Christmas Stars Parade will take place on January 8th, 2018 from noon till 2 PM; the parade’s route will run from Rynok Square along Svobody Avenue. Making Christmas Stars is an old tradition in Ukraine. The star-holder («zvizdar») is the person who leads the vertep and proudly holds the bright handmade Christmas star on a long stake.
Making the most beautiful and bright Christmas star has turned into a real competition in the Western Ukraine in recent years. All participants and their beautiful stars can be viewed at the Christmas Stars Parade.
Image source: unsplash.com, unian.com, shutterstock.com, Evgeny Kraws.