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Holidays in Ukraine

December 27, 2007

It’s hard to believe that 2007 is nearly over! Those of us from the West have already celebrated Christmas but the children at the Ark and actually most Ukrainians are anticipating THE holiday of all holidays – New Year! And just a week after New Year comes Orthodox Christmas. Our kids are singing to the tune of “Jingle Bells” – “Christmas time, Christmas time, it is almost here.” On the 25th Valera says to me, “Merry American Christmas!” I gave him a short lesson on Christmas celebrations. Valera’s only 8 years old and he quickly asked if they could celebrate both Christmas’s. Clever guy!! Most Ukrainian families exchange a gift on New Year’s. Grandfather Frost comes and leaves a gift under the New Year’s  tree. Christmas was really never celebrated with gifts and such like we do in the West. But as the western influence envelopes Ukraine some old customs are changing. Personally I like that Christmas here in not so commercially oriented and materialistic. Christmas is usually celebrated by going to church and the family gathering for a dinner late in the evening. Gifts are not generally exchanged on Christmas.

Our kids are decorating their rooms and looking forward to some guests coming from North Carolina to celebrate the holidays. New Year’s eve they’ll be making gingerbread houses, have a nice dinner and then a masquerade party to bring in the New year. Look for photos of that event on the 1st of January. It’s become a tradition at the Ark to make and decorate gingerbread houses. They really like it a lot!

If you’d like to see what downtown Kiev looks like at holiday time just click on this link.

I remember 13 years ago when decorations were few and far between and didn’t even show up until 28 December. Those days are long gone. Over the years there have been huge “cosmetic” changes in Ukraine. Hopefully, soon there will be major infrastructure changes. Tymoshenko, the new Prime Minister, said in a televised speech that she has started a campaign to remove corruption in the government. She also plans to cancel the amnesty program that legislators have enjoyed the past several years. I say – let it be so!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 27, 2007 10:54 pm

    Love the snow!! Looking forward to pictures of the gingerbread houses! AND the costume party.

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