Dear travelers,

I didn’t think I’d ever say this at Christmastime, but I am hungry.

Here, we wait all day, not eating ANYTHING, until we see the first star of Christmas Eve. But, once the star is spotted over Ukraine, we finally sit down to eat the Sviata Vecheria (Say: suh-vata vuh-chair-y-uh), which is Ukrainian for Holy Supper.

This feast is worth the wait! To symbolize the 12 disciples of the Bible, there are 12 different dishes. But no animals are eaten (*phew*), out of respect for the animals in the stable where Jesus was born. The center of the table is decorated with sheaves of wheat to remember the harvest and all of the people who fed generations of Ukrainians by working hard in the fields.

After eating, we go into the streets with sticks covered in colorful stars we’ve decorated ourselves and sing Koliadky (Say: coal-yah-duh-key), which means carols.

In big Ukrainian cities, like the capital, Kyiv, people will dress in traditional clothing and parade with their paper stars through the streets.

Though there are still stars in my eyes—I must be on my way!



Next Up: Hanukkah