New Year’s, Ukrainian-style
Each year, Canadians of Ukrainian heritage hold their Christmas and their New Year’s celebrations — Malanka — some two weeks after the rest of the general population.
Fraser Valley residents are no different. This year, the Fraser Valley Ukrainian Cultural Society hosts its annual Malanka New Year’s Dinner and Dance on Saturday, Jan. 12.
The event takes place at Langley Banquet Centre (3227 264 St. in Aldergrove) and features entertainment by the Yevshan Ukrainian Dancers. Doors open at 6 p.m., with festivities beginning at 7 p.m.
Also making an appearance this year is the West Coast Dulcimer Duo.
While most of the Western world adheres to the Gregorian calendar which was established in 1582, many Ukrainians still recognize the holidays of the much older Julian calendar.
The night of Jan. 6 (Svyata Vechera — the holy evening) sees a traditional 12-course Christmas meal served in households, with a kolach (braided loaf) as a supper-table centrepiece, and a didukh (or decorated sheaf of wheat) standing nearby.
When the youngest member of the family announces to those present that a star is visible in the night sky on Svyata Vechera, the hospodar (or host) helps him light a candle, which is placed in the window.
The lit candle is a signal to any traveller who is lost or prevented by weather from reaching home that a place is available for him at the hospodar’s table. After a traditional prayer, the first of 12 dishes is served: a centuries-old delicacy of wheat and poppy seeds and honey known as kutya.
Carollers may drop in on the home to sing traditional “koliadky” identical to those which their ancestors had sung in previous centuries.
A week later, Ukrainians bring in the new year with their Malanka, or New Year’s celebration.
The Malanka celebration at Langley Banquet Centre features a meal of Ukrainian cuisine (perogies, holoptsi and the like) and is followed by a dance with live music by S-Bahn.
Malanka has been a sell-out every year, so those wishing to attend should purchase tickets as soon as possible. They are $40 general, $20 for children ages six to 12, and free for kids under six.
Tickets are available by calling 604-853-9412 or 604-850-0263.