As Orthodox Christmas approaches on Jan. 7, the Kyiv Post looks into the Christmas celebrations in Kyiv and in Lviv, a popular destination for winter holidays in Ukraine.
In Kyiv, main festivities will be held near the St. Sophia Cathedral and St. Michael’s Monastery. It will start at 3 p.m. with the exhibition of didukh, a decoration and a traditional symbol of Ukrainian Christmas. Didukh is made from a sheaf of wheat, a symbolic sacrifice taken from the best of the autumn harvest. It’s usually decorated with flowers, ribbons, a small wreath of sweet basil and other herbs.
A traditional nativity play, or vertep, is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Ukrainian vertep typically has specific main characters, including Deacon, Baba (a Ukrainian middle-aged woman), Moscal (a character from Russia), Gypsy, Barkeeper and Zaporozhets, a cossack from Zaporizhska Sich, who always makes witty jokes.