Today is Holly Night. Sacred and special. Ukrainians cook 12 meals which symbolise 12 Apostles of Jesus. Also we cook special holly meal Kutya from rise with raisins, nuts, honey. And special drink with smoky flavor. We invite all of you to visit Ukraine to see this miracles night with Christmas carols and joy.
Kutia is a national Ukrainian meal which specially cooked for Christmas Eve. This holly night each should try this delicious porridge to have prosperous year ahead. By the way, Kutia is a Lenten dish and no milk or egg products can be used. There are known kutia recipes that use pearl barley instead of wheatberries. But the more ingredient’s you put the more successful year you will get. Also it is used in a number of rituals performed on the holly night. The word “kutia” by itself means «boiled wheat» of Greek origin and it relates to the cult of worship to passed away ancestors. We believe that this night should of dead ancestor’s come to visit their families and we need to treat them. This tradition came here from ancient pagan times. Does not matter which ingredients you put here must be three basic ones . They are wheat, poppy seed and honey. Each of them has it’s own significance. So, wheat symbolizes fertility, stability and circulation of life style. Which can be interpreted as immorality and rebirth of the soul. Honey symbolizes sweetness, pleasure and goodness of life. Poppy seeds are symbols of welfare and fertility.
Uzvar is another special non alcoholic drink for the holly night which has smoky flavor. It is coked from smoked pears, apples and sugar.
Holly night is accompanied with lot’s of rituals and superstitions. For instance it is not allowed to eat anything before the first star appears on the sky. All family should gather at table and father is the only one who is allowed to be the first to start the meal. Kutia is the first meal to start with and uzvar. Than all family is waiting for little kids who are coming from one house to another one singing joyful Christmas Carols glorifying birth of Jesus. Christmas carols are sung also next morning January 7th. But this is morning only boys are allowed to be the first to enter somebody’s house which brings prosperity and luck. Also godparents should visit their godchildren within these holly days to bring them gifts and show their care .