This year, with anti-government, pro-European protests continuing across the nation, the revolutionary spirit added an extra twist to the carols.
On Dec. 19 Ukrainian famous folk singers and folk bands gathered to record
revolutionary carol - a remake of the famous Ukrainian Christmas carol “The New
Joy” from the times of Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Ukraine
The word ‘vertep’ in the Ukrainian folklore means the cave where Jesus Christ was born. At Christmas time, Vertep means either a sculpture composition of the moment of birth of Jesus, or a theatrical play.
The types of play can vary hugely. They can be Biblical plots as well as local characters mixed with traditional characters, but the essence is always the same: “it is always a fight good and evil that ends with the holy birth of Christ called to bring light to the world.
Ukrainians have always had their own symbol of good, grace and life - a sheaf of different grains, also symbolizing wealth. It was placed in the corner of the living room, right under the icons and close to a loaf of bread, and stayed there till the end of the Christmas holidays.
On Christmas eve the dinner was meat-free. This was the last day of the fast and believers would get 12 dishes for their meal.
This is a tradition of forgiving each other and helping each other to feel the joy of life. And it was not only about relatives, but about beggars and poor people. At Christmas, people were supposed to be especially charitable, and even invite poor people for a Christmas dinner to their homes.