Christmas, celebrated locally on Jan. 6-7, was missing snow cover in most of Ukraine.
Not so in the nation’s Carpathian Mountains, where rural villagers continue to practice and preserve centuries-old traditions such as Christmas caroling.
In the mountain village of Kosmach, for example, residents take religion seriously. They regularly visit church. Women cover their heads in veils and kiss icons and receive blessings.
Pious worship during the holidays is balanced with pleasures such as heavy eating and drinking. Locals add color by wearing traditional folk clothing.
The Christmas spirit was particularly strong for young
and old skiers in some parts of the Carpathians that received heavy snow, starting with Dragobrat, Ukraine’s highest ski resort .
The holidays were an extra special moment for Swiss national Christoph Spangenberg.
Along with Ukrainian in-laws, he opened for business a new Swiss-styled restaurant located on Dragobrat’s ski runs at a height of about 1,500 meters.
Possibly Ukraine’s highest restaurant, La Rochelle has a cozy indoor fireplace, tasty food, refreshing mulled wine and a picturesque terrace.
(Photos by Kostyantin Chernichkin and Roman Olearchyk)