Today, I wanted to share with you our very important Ukrainian Christmas Eve traditions. You see, MomFOD is Ukrainian (born in Chicago) and Christmas Eve has always been a particularly enjoyable holiday for her. Having been a vegetarian since she was 19, this holiday made things a little easier because Ukrainians celebrate Christmas Eve as a vegetarian holiday, so there was nothing to avoid at the dinner table!
There are a lot of nuances to Ukrainian traditions, and if you’d like to read more about them, see here. Each year, MomFOD makes borscht (beet soup), and often vyshky, which are little mushroom dumplings served cold in the hot soup. She also makes kolachky and sometimes, when she has the time, pirohy, the potato dumplings most people know as pierogi (that’s Polish and MomFOD refuses to use that word to refer to her little potato bombs.)
The most important thing, though, that MomFOD does is to set aside a bit of food at the end of the evening for each departed loved one. She lights a candle and leaves it to illuminate the food and to welcome lost family and friends to the table after she’s gone to bed. Her Baba always told her that the dead come and enjoy the food on that night only, and we had to make sure to welcome them. MomFOD always promised her Baba that when she was gone, she’d leave some for her, too. And she does, and she also leaves it for her great-grandparents. I know we’ve had a lot of losses this year in the blogosphere of dear kitty friends, so maybe you guys will leave a little snack out for your OTRB friends so they can come visit and enjoy.
Here’s one of MomFOD’s favorite Christmas carols! Usually, Ukrainian carols are usually a downer, and actually, the lyrics to this one talk about sad donkeys and such, but the song is still joyful! Have a listen:
And here’s Mom wearing her Vyshyvka, embroidered by her Baba. She took the photo for Vyshyvanka Vivtorok last week to show her support for Ukraine!
We hope you enjoyed learning about our traditions! Why don’t you share some of yours! Is there something special you do for Christmas?
PS. We got our Secret Paws gift! Read all about it here!