January 6th is an important day for Ukrainians across the world, with the celebration of Christmas Eve on the “old” calendar – the Julian calendar.
The event is rich in traditions and dinner is called “Svita Vechera.”
Ken Mazur is the first Vice President with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Regina.
He says Old Calendar Christmas Eve is more important to Ukrainian culture than Christmas Day on December 25.
Mazur says much of what happens at the Christmas Eve table is prescribed by tradition.
A handful of hay is placed on the dining table to symbolize the manger and is covered by a fancy embroidered tablecloth.
For a centrepiece, three circular breads, called kollach or kalach, are stacked one on top of the other, encircling a candle.
The children must watch for the first star in the eastern sky, the signal that the meal may begin.
After the patriarch of the family brings a sheath of wheat to the dining room, symbolizing the gathering of the clan, and offers a traditional greeting, the family prays and the meal begins.
Dinner consists of 12 dishes, representing the 12 apostles.
There are many traditional Christmas Eve dishes, some of them served at every Sviata Vechera.
Everyone present is expected to eat some, even just a small taste, of each dish.
No meat, animal fat, milk or milk products can be included in this meatless meal, but fish is served.
To commemorate the event, there will be a special Ukrainian Christmas program Wednesday night at 11:00 p.m. on 620 CKRM.