Ukrainians set to celebrate Orthodox Christmas in Canada — some for the last time & More Trending News


For Liliia Tashnik, the previous 12 months has been full of massive adjustments.

At this time in 2022, Tashnik was listening to carollers singing outdoors her residence in Kyiv as her household gathered round the eating desk, laughing, consuming and exchanging presents.

For Tashnik, it was Christmas, which is well known by the Russian and Ukrainian branches of the Orthodox church on Jan. 7.

But this 12 months, as the vacation rolls round once more, Tashnik says “it’s a little bit different” — and never simply as a result of it is her first Christmas in Canada. 

Tashnik is one in all many Ukrainians who’ve chosen to celebrate the vacation on Dec. 25, per the Western custom, fairly than in early January.

Her determination comes as the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has allowed its clergy to conduct non secular festivities on that date, in response to elevated calls for from Ukrainian folks to reject any associations with Russia.

“It feels right,” mentioned Tashnik, who arrived in Ottawa in November along with her 18-month-old son, aged mom and cat. Her husband stays in Ukraine, combating for their folks.

priest lighting candle
Father Taras Kinash will likely be conducting the Christmas festivities at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on Saturday for the first time. But given the push to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 and keep away from associations with Russia, it could even be his last. (Avanthika Anand/CBC )

A protracted time coming

Father Taras Kinash, who will likely be conducting his first Christmas festivities at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on Saturday, defined that celebrating on Dec. 25 truly has its roots in Ukrainian historical past.

Before the Nineteen Thirties, Christmas was celebrated in Ukraine on that date, Kinash mentioned, nevertheless it was switched due to stress from the Soviet Union in the years main up to the Second World War.

“The topic of changing dates [back to Dec. 25] appeared more than 10 years ago, but the war was, like, the capitalization of this,” he mentioned. “The people wanted their own Christmas.” 

Some Ukrainian newcomers, like himself, will nonetheless celebrate Christmas on Saturday at the cathedral for custom’s sake, he mentioned. There will likely be food-tasting competitions that includes kutia, a candy wheat berry pudding, and uzvar, a conventional Ukrainian beverage created from dried fruits and berries — each conventional components of  each Ukrainian family’s Christmas celebration.

But whether or not these festivities proceed after this 12 months stays unclear.

“This is a Christmas of loss, of tears, of suffering, of splitting the families,” Kinash mentioned, including his father and brother are nonetheless in battle zones.

“This Christmas is unique as it never was before. And I hope it will never be again.”

woman in coat
Liliia Tashnik travelled to Canada in November 2022 along with her 18-month-old son, her aged mom and their pet cat. She mentioned it ‘feels proper’ to celebrate the vacation on Dec. 25. (Avanthika Anand/CBC)

‘We need to discover our personal means’

Liliya Terenyak, a Kharkiv native who got here to Ottawa earlier this 12 months along with her 4 kids and husband, mentioned she will likely be collaborating in the competitors however will not celebrate Orthodox Christmas.

“We want to be a part of this community, so we do need to be together,” she mentioned.  “But we want to find our own way.”

Anastasiia Lazarchuk additionally mentioned along with her household again residence over a telephone name if they might celebrate the January vacation, as they’d completed all their lives earlier than the battle.

The reply, she mentioned, was a powerful no.

Instead, her mom made 12 dishes, invited their neighbours over, and so they all celebrated the vacation on Dec. 25.

“It’s the duty of every Ukrainian … to protect our traditions, to protect our own language and our own culture. And I think this is the right thing to do,” mentioned Lazarchuk, who fled to Ottawa along with her boyfriend after the battle broke out.

“We’re trying to save our identity.”

Ukrainians set to celebrate Orthodox Christmas in Canada — some for the last time

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Ukrainians set to celebrate Orthodox Christmas in Canada — some for the last time

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