Monday, 12 January 2009

Ukrainian Christmas

A friend of ours is of Ukrainian descent and invited us to Christmas Eve dinner, which the Ukrainians celebrate at Epiphany. We arrived to a house ablaze with candles and fairy lights. Twelve of us sat down to eat twelve courses, symbolising the twelve apostles. An extra place was laid for the souls of dead members of the family. The meal contains no meat or dairy, and so we feasted on an array of grains, vegetables and fruit. Dishes included borscht, sauerkraut, dumplings with mushroom sauce, cabbage parcels, quinoa, salad of pickled vegetables, wilted spinach with cheese, and winter fruit compote. After the meal our fabulous chef, who'd been clad in angelic whites all evening, as cook and hostess extraordinare, disappeared. She then re-emerged, dressed all in black, and started whirling, dervish-like, around the garden, brandishing fire torches. As a nearly-full moon lit up the garden, a blast of fireworks was sent into the sky. Amazing.

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