Christmas in Ukraine is a very important and sacred holiday. It is celebrated on January 7, which is traditionally the Orthodox or Eastern Rite (Julian Calendar) church holy day.
On the eve of Christmas Ukrainians try to finish all important issues, clean and bring in order their houses.
According to Ukrainian tradition there should be 12 dishes prepared for the sacred dinner – in the honor of the 12 apostles. It is not allowed to fight or say something unpleasant during this evening, people must be pleasant and nice with each other.
All the family members should be present at home for Christmas in Ukraine. Children should be at home and help parents in preparations to the great holiday.
It is believed that all the family should finish the dinner together and only then one can leave the table, and then leave the house if needed. If somebody leaves earlier the evil spirit will visit the house.
Each of the dishes on the table should be tried at least once, so that there was no hunger during the year. So everybody at the table tries a piece of each dish to ensure the next year is prosperous and happy.
With the first evening star the family starts the sacred supper. It begins with lightening the candle and prays. Christmas candle is to commemorate the souls of the ancestors of the family. They leave an empty sit at the table for those who are not with the family any more.
Traditions require that there should be very little alcohol drinks, but a lot of food. The dinner starts with Ukrainian kutia, borsch, and mushrooms.
They say your next year, success, relations with people and atmosphere in the house will be same as the one during this sacred supper.
Celebrations of Christmas in the center of Kiev: