Just a short time after New Year Ukrainians are celebrating Orthodox Christmas, which is the most important family holiday of the whole year. The Christmas Eve Supper or Sviata Vecheria (Holy Supper) brings the family together to partake in special foods and begins the holiday with many customs and traditions, which reach back to antiquity. The rituals of the Christmas Eve are dedicated to God, to the welfare of the family, and to the remembrance of the ancestors.
Read: New Year and Christmas Traditions in Ukraine
A prayer is said and the father says the traditional Christmas greeting, "Khrystos rodyvsya!" (Christ is born!) which is answered by the family with "Slavite Yoho!" (Let Us Glorify Him!). In some families the Old Slavic form «Khrystos razhdayetsya» is used. This is a traditional Ukrainian Christmas greeting which is used instead of «Hello» by the majority of church-going Ukrainians on January 6th, 7th and 8th. Some people use this Christmas greeting until Epiphany day (January 19th).
After Christmas Dinner many children as well as grown-ups go visit their neighbors and family members and friends who live nearby to wish them Merry Christmas and sing some Christmas carols. Ukrainian Christmas songs or carols have their origins in antiquity, as do many other traditions practiced at Christmas time. Carols can be considered the most interesting and most authentic Christmas greetings of all. These songs most often include various wishes of health, luck, prosperity and other pleasant things to the host. So, learning one of traditional Ukrainian carols might be a good idea to greet your local friends on Christmas.
If you are not that good in singing consider to surprise your friends with a traditional Christmas postcard. Many Ukrainians send Christmas cards to their friends and family a week or two before the holiday. The postcards are hand signed and often include abstracts from traditional Ukrainian Christmas carols.
Read: Traditional Ukrainian Christmas Dishes
New Year and especially Christmas celebration in Ukraine has a long history and a vivid set of traditions and rituals, all of which allow foreigners get a glimpse of unique cultural identity that miraculously survived on the outskirts of modern Europe.
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