There will be a lot of celebrating tonight for many people in the Southeast, acknowledging Orthodox Christmas Eve. 

Ukrainian Viktoriia Pylypets-Romaniuk of Steinbach says this evening begins with the Holy Dinner, a feast that is prepared for the whole family to enjoy around the table.

Meatless dishes on the tableThe dinner table is set for Orthodox Christmas Eve. (Photo submitted)

“We wait until the first star rises,” she explains. “Only after that, we start our dinner.” 

The 12 meatless dishes are symbolic and include some specific ingredients. 

Pylypets-Romaniuk says the number of dishes is symbolic of the 12 apostles and 12 months in the year. 

While the dishes are meatless, fish is allowed, and she says it symbolizes Christ. 

For many Ukrainian families in southeastern Manitoba, this is their first Christmas in Canada, and they are creating new memories while keeping familiar traditions alive. 

Singing Christmas carols is one of the traditions enjoyed by many. 

Pylypets-Romaniuk brought a group of young Ukrainians to our studio, sharing carols in their native language. 

-With files from Michelle Sawatzky and Carly Koop