Christmas holidays in Poland are over, but do you know that Christmas was still not celebrated in some countries?
Two our volunteers – Hanna from Ukraine and Qristy from Georgia – will tell you how and when Christmas is celebrated in their countries, and share their impressions about this holiday in Poland.
It is a surprise for a lot of people that Christmas in Ukraine and Georgia is happening not in December, but on 7th of January. There is nothing strange in it – as these countries are Orthodox ones, not Catholic, there is a different calendar of holidays.
In Ukraine people also have special dinner before Christmas, so on 6th January there is Christmas Eve. As in Poland, 12 dishes are also tried to be cooked, but not every family does it. Usually the first dish that everybody needs to eat is kutia, which is cooked from wheet, nuts, poppyseeds, dried fruits and honey, and only after that family starts a dinner. This year Hanna had an opportunity to learn about Polish Christmas traditions by spending this holiday in Polish family, so she can say that some traditions are quite different. For example, in Ukraine people do not share opłatek and wish something to each other before the meal, and the tradition of having a free place for a guest is not very typical. In both countries they have similar traditions of singing kolenda (in Ukraine it is called koliadka), in Georgia they have Alilo, but nowadays it’s very big meeting in the streets of Tbilisi, where Georgians are gathering money, food and gifts for poor people. In Georgia people also go to church and meet Christmas there, and mostly it’s celebrated with family and close relatives. Before 12 o’clock Georgians are putting one candle on the window, which symbolizes letting Christmas in their homes and hearts. Traditional Georgian Christmas tree also looks differently, it is called chichilaki and is reminder of st. Nicolas white beard.
On New Year Georgians’ special guest is Mekvle – the person who enters first in your home, a lot depends on him or her – to have lucky or unlucky year. In addition, there are some good news for those who likes to party a lot: because of other holidays calender, both in Georgia and Ukraine the Old New Year is also celebrated on 14th of January. So, want to feel New Year spirit twice a year?