Ukrainian Christmas – Sviat Vecher 2016

The holiday season is officially over now that we have celebrated Sviat Vecher with friends. The feast was fabulous, as always. I was careful to have very small helpings because there are 12 courses. Everyone contributed food so it was a community effort. Before the guests entered our home, they walked by an axe planted in a chunk of wood – to keep evil spirits from invading our peaceful home. Inside we had a sheaf of wheat in the dining room, a reminder of our agrarian past since none of us are farmers.

2016 Sviat Vecher wheat2016 Sviat Vecher axe

We began with kutya made of wheat, poppyseed, honey, pecans and dates (my version of this sweet treat). This is traditionally the first food eaten (theoretically, after a day of fasting) on the evening of January 6th, our Christmas eve. This was followed by a meatless borsch with sour cream, rye bread, kolach (braided yeast bread), pickled herring, baked fish, perohy, cabbage rolls, beet salad, pickled mushrooms and cucumbers, cheese filled pyrizhki, poppyseed and fruit cakes.

2016 Sviat Vecher table.jpg

2016 Sviat Vecher group at table.jpg

That’s David and I at the far end, though we didn’t share a chair for the actual meal. And did I mention wine and Odessa vodka cocktails? The result was happy, full stomachs and lively conversations. It was the Ukrainian PEI family celebration we look forward to every year. Cheers to 2016!

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