Sofia is an European Voluntary Service volunteer from Ukraine who is working in Imastu Residential School. During Christmas-time she decided to visit another volunteer’s working place, a social centre in Rakvere where she organised a Ukrainian Christmas party for children. Here’s her story:
Do you know which holiday is more important for Ukrainians – Christmas or New Year? My name is Sofia Kornieva, I’m a volunteer from Ukraine. 12.11.17 I made Christmas party for children in social center in Rakvere. We “travelled” in old Ukrainian Christmas traditions, tried the typical Ukrainian Christmas food, watched a little movie about Ukrainian dancing and singing carols.
And the answer to the first question is both of them. The new year is the time when children have their presents from Ded Moroz (Ukrainian Santa Claus) and make wishes in 12 p.m. Christmas is the time for being together with family. But in some regions of Ukraine people don’t celebrate it at all, but in another – people keep all traditions and prepare for it for several months.
As Orthodox, we celebrate Christmas in the night from 6 to 7 January. Originally we don’t eat during the day of 6th of January, make kutia (another name Sviata Vecheria or Holy Supper) – is wheat or rise with raisins, nuts and honey. And with appearing the first star on the sky all family sits at the table with 12 dishes like 12 apostles. First begins to eat a father as a head of the family. And all members start and finish eating with kutia. It has sacral meaning and appearing many years ago.
After the meal, people love to sing carols or koliadky. They can be sung around the table or you might go out carolling in the streets. People sometimes carry coloured stars on poles and have bright costumes when they go carolling singing. The Ukrainian carol “Shchedryk” is where the popular “Carol of the Bells” came from.
So with children in Rakvere we travelling through this story, listen the carols, watched the Christmas costumes and tasted kutia and The Olivie salad – the famous New year salad.
So how can you say which holiday is more important?
Sofia stays in Estonia for 12 months within the project ”Be the Change II ” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.