Monday, December 23, 2013

holiday traditions: ukrainian christmas


Tis the season for holiday traditions. My family celebrates Ukrainian Christmas every christmas eve. As a small child I thought this day was awful because it's a meatless meal with cold potatoes. As an adult, I wikipedia-ed this tradition and found that what my family does is nowhere close to the actual tradition. Technically, the meal consists of twelve meatless dishes representing the twelve apostles. I'm also supposed to run outside in the snow and find the first star so that way the meal can begin. This is how our meal goes, each dish is brought out and eaten one at a time...

ONE. HOLY WAFER
We eat a broken up piece of holy wafer which has the consistency of chewable cardboard. Good start.

IN BETWEEN
In between every course my father and uncle take a shot to toast to the meal. They call it pee-a-wah-ta-ing (no idea on the spelling). I have yet to find this 'tradition' anywhere online.

TWO. GARLIC
Whole cloves we're talking here. Skip.

THREE. SOUP
Shrimp bisque that my dad made. Probably the best dish I'll have all night.

FOUR. SAUERKRAUT 
The smell is awful. I skip this dish.

FIVE. COLD POTATOES
They're not even cut up or seasoned or anything. I've dabbled with different ways of heating these over the years: sneaking out to the microwave, holding them above the candle flame, etc. My most recent discovery was putting them in the soup. Genius move.

SIX. MUSHROOM GRAVY
Not really fond of shrooms, so this one is out for me as well.

SEVEN. PIEROGIES (varenyky in ukrainian)
Cheese, potato, or sauerkraut are the options here.

EIGHT. MAC & CHEESE
This is a new addition and has nothing to with the traditional meal since eggs or milk or cheese are not even allowed.

THE END
According to my grandma we're supposed to shout 'khristos rodyvsya' meaning he is born. I should note my family is not very religious, but we try to keep this tradition alive. It makes my grandma happy when I try to say khristos rodyvsya to her over the phone, but I can't really pronounce it.

What are some of your holiday traditions??

2 comments:

  1. ha! I love this and that you guys do it for your grandma. My grandma is Russian and she used to make a similar thing to Perogies - they always make me think of her.

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  2. This is actually totally fascinating to me!! I lived in Germany for a Christmas, and it's so interesting to me how different countries, religions and backgrounds celebrate holidays. Merry Christmas and I look forward to learning more about you in the new year! xo

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