SVYATA VECHERYA – HOLY SUPPER
(Ukrainian traditions on Christmas Eve)
by Orysia Paschak Tracz)
1. Strict Fast in preparation for the Feast
2. At dusk, youngest son announces the first star of sunset:
Zvizdal Bo’a zvizda na nebil!
The star God’s star is in the sky!
3. The father (or son) lights candle on the “Palanytsya/Ritual Bread·, saying:
Shine, righteous sun,
for the holy souls and for us living.
Warm for us mother earth, our fields, our animals….
4. Husband and wife (carrying the “Palanytsya” or “Kutya”) go to the door.
5. Husband goes out to where the “Didukh” (sheaf of grain which represents the Ancestors) is kept. He bows before it, Crosses himself, picks it up and stands beside his wife. Then, he says:
O sun, moon, stars and rain,
and you, the spirits of our Ancestors,
come, and join us this Holy Evening!
6. The wife, offering the “Palanytsya” or “Kutya”, says:
And you, frost and Wind, drought and storm,
join us now …. I’m calling you!
If you do not come now, then don’t come at all –ever!
7. Upon returning into the house, the “Didukh” is placed in the Icon Corner. All face the icons, cross themselves, and sing the Tropar of the Nativity (Tone 4):
Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * made the light of knowledge dawn on the world: * through it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star * to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness, * and to know You, the Dawn from on the high. ** Glory to You, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever and ever. Amen. Lord Have Mercy (3).
Christ our God bless the food and drink of your servants for you are holy now and for ever and ever. Amen.
As we sing, the father of the house offers everyone present a piece of “Prosphora” and honey, greeting each with the words: “Khrystos Razhdayetsyal/Christ is Born!” to which we reply: “Slavite Yoho/Glorify Him!”
8. Between each of the courses offered, a “Kolyada” is sung.
9.Two plates are set aside, one for absent family members, the other, for the Ancestors. A small portion of each food is placed on them.
10. After the “Svyata Vecherya/Holy Supper”, all Sing •Slavo Bohu·, the last verse of “Boh Predvichnyj” and go to church to celebrate in community there.
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