Why do Ukrainians celebrate Christmas without Santa Claus? When do they get their gifts? Why is Ukrainian Christmas celebrated in January? Why do they eat twelve separate meatless and non-dairy foods on Christmas Eve? Why is there an empty place setting and chair at the table even if there are many people? Why do they go around singing in people’s homes in the depths of winter? What is a Malanka? What’s with all the different things celebrated in such a different way? What does all this mean?
First Star I See Tonight is the first in-depth English-language book on Ukrainian Christmas traditions. Orysia Tracz was a writer, researcher, translator, and speaker on all things Ukrainian, especially culture, and had a life-long interest in Ukrainian rituals and traditions. In this book she explained Ukrainian Christmas origins, their symbolism, and their continuation in Ukraine and around the world, especially in Canada and the USA. The author’s curiosity and wonder about traditions since childhood became a driving passion, as she pieced together everything from the origins of the ancient rituals to contemporary cultural practices.
This book pulls all this information together as a practical reference for current and future generations, to share whenever Ukrainian Christmas is mentioned in the media or during family holidays and rituals. A number of the author’s articles were about Ukrainian Christmas celebrations in Winnipeg and Manitoba since the first immigration to Canada 130 years ago. This book will be of interest to families of all generations with roots in Ukraine, as well as to anyone celebrating Christmas anywhere in the world.