First Star I See Tonight: Ukrainian Christmas Traditions

Why do Ukrainians celebrate Christmas without Santa Claus? When do they get their gifts? Why is Ukrainian Christmas celebrated in January? Why do they eat twelve separate meatless and non-dairy foods on Christmas Eve? Why is there an empty place setting and chair at the table even if there are many people? Why do they go around singing in people’s homes in the depths of winter? What is a Malanka? What’s with all the different things celebrated in such a different way? What does all this mean?

First Star I See Tonight is the first in-depth English-language book on Ukrainian Christmas traditions. Orysia Tracz is a writer, researcher, translator, and speaker on things Ukrainian, especially culture, and has had a life-long interest in Ukrainian rituals and traditions. In this book she explains Ukrainian Christmas origins, their symbolism, and their continuation in Ukraine and around the world, especially in Canada and the USA.

The author has wondered about all this since childhood, and has finally put all of it together (at least most of it). With the strong Ukrainian-heritage population in North America, and the interest shown in Ukrainian traditions whenever Ukrainian Christmas is mentioned in the media, this book will fill a large part of the need for this comprehensive information.