Restrictions foil large Ukrainian Christmas celebration but a ‘nice night’ nonetheless

·1 min read

A Medicine Hat couple kept its Ukrainian Christmas tradition alive this year with a small celebration on Wednesday.

Karen-Anne and John Cherwonogrodzky have held community celebrations in the past couple years for the Holiday, but kept it to just three people total this year due to restriction gatherings.

The couple dressed up and celebrated for Ukrainian Christmas Eve on Wednesday with a feast and went to church Thursday for Christmas Day.

“It was different this year not being able to have a big gathering, but it was a nice night,” said Karen-Anne. “We held the past couple years at a church and did a fundraiser, so we definitely missed that.”

John says around half the people who come to the celebration typically aren’t Ukrainian, but still enjoy the night.

“That’s the great thing about Canada,” he said. “We have such a fun time hosting those.”

The couple’s meal consisted of a wide range of food from mushrooms, perogies, bread rolls, cheeses, dates and traditional Ukrainian foods like Kutya and Kasha.

“Kutya is a wheat, poppy seed and honey dish,” said Karen-Anne. “It’s one of my favourites. We also enjoy borscht, another traditional meal.”

The clothing John wore during the celebration was embroidered by his aunt during one of his visits to Ukraine. Karen-Anne’s necklace was beaded by one of John’s relatives in Kyiv.

The couple is hoping to be able to host a gathering to celebrate the occasion next year.

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News