What Is Christmas Called in Ukraine?
Christmas is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor all around the world, and Ukraine is no exception. In Ukraine, Christmas is called “Різдво” (Rizdvo), which translates to “birth” in English. The celebration of Rizdvo holds significant cultural and religious importance in Ukraine, with various traditions and customs being observed during this time. Let’s delve deeper into the Ukrainian Christmas traditions and explore some frequently asked questions about this festive occasion.
1. When is Ukrainian Christmas celebrated?
Ukrainian Christmas is celebrated on January 7th according to the Gregorian calendar. This is because the Ukrainian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar.
2. What are some unique Ukrainian Christmas traditions?
Ukrainian Christmas traditions are deeply rooted in folklore and religious beliefs. One of the most notable customs is the decorating of a “didukh,” a sheaf of wheat or other grain stalks, which symbolizes the spirits of the ancestors. Caroling and singing traditional Ukrainian Christmas carols, known as “kolyadky,” is also a cherished tradition.
3. How is the Ukrainian Christmas Eve celebrated?
Ukrainian Christmas Eve, known as “Sviat Vechir,” is the most important part of the Christmas celebration. It is a time when families come together to share a festive meal known as “Sviata Vecheria.” This meal consists of twelve meatless dishes, representing the twelve apostles, and includes dishes like kutia (a sweet grain pudding) and borscht (a beet soup).
4. Are there any particular religious services held during Ukrainian Christmas?
Yes, many Ukrainians attend the Christmas Eve church service, known as “Pasterka.” It is a solemn and beautiful service held at midnight, where people gather to pray, sing carols, and celebrate the birth of Christ.
5. What role do carols play in Ukrainian Christmas celebrations?
Carols are an integral part of Ukrainian Christmas celebrations. Groups of people, often dressed in traditional costumes, go from house to house singing carols and spreading good wishes. It is a joyful and communal activity that brings people together and creates a festive atmosphere.
6. Are there any special decorations associated with Ukrainian Christmas?
Yes, Ukrainian Christmas decorations often include straw ornaments, such as stars, crosses, and angels. These decorations are believed to bring good fortune and protect the home from evil spirits. Additionally, many households have a Christmas tree adorned with traditional Ukrainian ornaments.
7. Are there any other notable Ukrainian Christmas traditions?
Another popular tradition is the breaking of the “didukh” on Christmas morning. The grains from the sheaf are then scattered throughout the fields to ensure a prosperous year ahead. Additionally, children eagerly await the arrival of “Did Moroz” (Father Frost) and his granddaughter “Snihuronka” (Snow Maiden), who bring gifts to well-behaved children.
In conclusion, Ukrainian Christmas, known as Rizdvo, is a time of great celebration and cultural significance. It is marked by unique traditions such as decorating the didukh, singing carols, and sharing a festive meal on Christmas Eve. The customs and rituals associated with Ukrainian Christmas reflect the country’s rich history and deep-rooted religious beliefs. It is a time when families come together, communities unite, and the spirit of joy and goodwill fills the air.