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Ukrainian Canadians have some special traditions, and for many, culture and religion go hand in hand. There are two traditional Christian religious groups, Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox. Since their earliest days on the Prairies, Ukrainians have built distinctive churches as centres of their communities. People enjoy two special celebrations: Christmas and Easter.
Traditional Ukrainian Christmas
Ukrainian Christmas Eve is on January 6, a day of special celebration and feasting. According to tradition, families set their table with an extra place in memory of lost loved ones. Bits of hay may be scattered on the tablecloth to symbolize Christ's manger. In the centre of the table is the kolach (egg bread) braided into a circle. When the first star appears in the sky, the celebration begins. A didukh (bundle of hay) may be brought into the house by the head of the family. Didukh means "grandfather spirit" and symbolizes the family's ancestors. Pieces of bread dipped in honey are passed around and then the head of the family says in Ukrainian, "Christ is born!" Everyone else answers, "Let us glorify Him!" Then, everyone feasts on a traditional 12-course meal, including kutya, a crunchy, sweet pudding.