Who says you need snow to have a groovy Christmas?
This must have been the thought of Oleh Skrypka, one of Ukraine’s most famous rockers and festival organizers, who decided to proceed with his annual “Krayina Mriy Rizdvyana” (The Country of Dreams – Christmas) on Jan. 7-8 in Kyiv despite plenty of gray, both in the sky and under one’s feet.
Vertep plays tell the story of Christ’s birth
The festival took place in Mamaeva Sloboda, an outdoor ethnic museum designed as a traditional Cossack village. Some of the promised Christmas fun activities – like sledding – had to be canceled. But others – like singing were very much welcome by the crowd.
Children have fun playing with fire.
Skrypka and his band Vopli Vodoplyasova, often referred to as simply “VV,” headlined the performance on the first day of the fest. Both days featured ethnic drinks and food prepared outdoors – but the queues were off-putting for many visitors. There was also a festive fair where embroideries, wood carvings, dolls and other traditional souvenirs were up for sale.
National Ukrainian dolls “lyalka motanka” are one of the most popular souvenirs at Mamaev Sloboda.
During the festive fair, traditional souvenirs are sold.
Some people strolled around in brightly colored traditional Ukrainian clothes, others rode horses and carts. Top that with caroling on stage – and you get a picture of what the festival was like.
Visitors look at a nativity scene depicting Christ’s birth.
The two days culminated in a Vertep (Christmas play) performance to the story written by Ivan Malkovych, a writer and publisher of gorgeously illustrated children’s books. He also did some acting, along with some famous professional actors such as Bohdan Benyuk, Ostap Stupka and Vasyl Vyrastyuk.
(Photos by Ganna Bernyk and Ukrafoto)