It’s all about food, family and tradition this weekend for Saskatoon’s Ukrainian community as they prepare to celebrate Ukrainian Christmas.
“We’re probably going to have about 18 people around the table,” said Taras Makowsky, Reverend Arch Priest at Ukraine Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Saskatoon.
He admits when you have that many guests on their way over for Ukranian Christmas Eve, the preparation starts well in advance.
“We made the borscht two or three weeks ago when we had a big cooking bee,” Makowsky said.
They’re also stocked up with perogies, wild mushrooms and sauerkraut, among other tasty menu items.
In fact, Makowsky said 12 unique dishes are all a part of an entirely lenten meal prepared for Christmas Eve.
“There’s no meat, there’s no eggs, there’s no cream because it’s all a part of the fast until the Christmas Eve divine liturgy at midnight,” Makowsky said.
Makowsky leads the Christmas Eve service at the cathedral in Saskatoon.
He said the divine liturgy will start at around 11:15 on Saturday.
Once the liturgy is completed, the church choir will sing.
“This could take us to probably about 1:30 in the cathedral in the morning. And then people will go home and start the Christmas celebrations. That’s when they can start eating meat. The fast is broken and they will have all kinds of different kovbasa waiting for them,”
Makowsky said there are some advantages to celebrating Ukrainian Christmas after the chaos that ensues in the lead-up to December 25th.
“Society around us, like the stores, we don’t have to fight with ‘come buy! come buy!,” Makowsky said.
He said that the focus on prayer is what makes this time of year special for him.