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Ukrainian Christmas (Intermediate – B1)

Ukrainian Christmas - Transcript

For many years, the people of Ukraine celebrated Christmas Day on January 7th.  In 2023, however, this changed, and Ukrainians began to follow the Western tradition of celebrating Christmas on December 25th.  Food is a very important part of the celebration, but the meal Ukrainians eat is very different from that enjoyed in countries such as England or the United States. A Ukrainian Christmas dinner contains dishes such as sweet grain pudding, and borscht, but no meat. Hay is sometimes placed under the tablecloth during the meal, to represent the manger where the baby Jesus slept. After the feast, carolers visit homes singing traditional songs. Many families also prepare a special decoration made of wheat, which symbolizes the spirit of the ancestors. Ukrainian Christmas is not only a religious celebration but also a time for practicing old traditions that reveal the rich culture of the country.

Ukrainian Christmas - Video

Ukrainian Christmas Feast

Ukrainian Christmas, formerly celebrated on January 7th, is a time for a special meal called “Sviata Vecheria” or Holy Supper. Families gather on Christmas Eve to enjoy a unique feast. One special thing about this meal is that it has 12 courses! What makes it even more special is that these dishes don’t have any meat. Ukrainians believe it’s a time to fast and reflect.

Delicious Dishes

1. Kutia: Sweet Grain Pudding
One of the first courses is kutia, a sweet and hearty grain pudding made with wheat, poppy seeds, honey, and sometimes nuts. It’s a special dish full of flavor and tradition.

2. Borscht: A Vibrant Beet Soup
Another famous dish is borscht, a delicious soup made with beets. It’s not only tasty but also has a vibrant red color that adds to the festive atmosphere.

3. Varenyky: Dumplings with Various Fillings
Varenyky are dumplings filled with potatoes, cabbage, or fruits. They are often boiled or fried and served with sour cream, making them a delightful treat.

4. Holubtsi: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Holubtsi are cabbage rolls stuffed with a tasty mixture of rice and mushrooms or meat. They are baked or stewed and add a comforting touch to the Christmas feast.

5. Mushroom Gravy: A Flavorful Addition
Mushroom gravy is a delicious sauce made with mushrooms and served over various dishes. It adds a rich and savory flavor to the Christmas meal.

6. Pickled Herring: A Traditional Fish Dish
Pickled herring is a popular fish dish served during the Christmas feast. It’s often marinated with onions and a tangy sauce, providing a unique taste.

Family Time and Tradition

During this festive time, families come together, share stories, and enjoy the warmth of each other’s company. The 12-course meal represents a connection to their heritage and a celebration of the Christmas story. Ukrainian Christmas is not just about the food; it’s about coming together, sharing joy, and keeping the traditions alive for generations to come.



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