Saskatchewan

Ukrainian Christmas exciting time for Regina woman

It's Orthodox Christmas Eve and that's a big deal in Saskatchewan, where many thousands of people claim Ukrainian ancestry.

Barb Dedi is expecting 50 people in her home on the eve of the Orthodox celebration

Barb Dedi is preparing the 12 meatless dishes for Ukrainian Christmas Eve. She said she's also preparing some meat dishes for those guests who need the protein. (Jill Morgan/CBC)

It's Orthodox Christmas Eve and that's a big deal in Saskatchewan, where many thousands of people claim Ukrainian ancestry.

For some families, it will mean preparing a meal of 12 meatless dishes — and Regina's Barb Dedi is among those going all out. 

It's traditional that 12 meatless dishes are served on Ukrainian Christmas Eve. (Jill Morgan/CBC)

Every year for the past decade, Dedi has prepared a traditional Ukrainian Christmas meal and opened up her home. 

This year, she is expecting more than 50 people from 16 different cultures: Mexican, Caribbean, Chinese, First Nations and more.

"Up late last night just preparing the dishes," Dedi told CBC Morning Edition host Sheila Coles on Friday morning. 

"Many, many different kinds of perogies and cabbage rolls — they have to be meatless. And I also make buckwheat cabbage roles."

At the centre of the display is kolach, braided and stacked bread. The candle in the centre symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem. (Jill Morgan/CBC)

There will also be kutia — a cereal dish made with cooked wheat and poppy seeds — and kolach — fancy twisted and braided bread with a hole in the centre.

"A candle is lit in the middle of the bread which represents the Star of Bethlehem," Dedi explained.

Dedi, who is president of Regina's Spring Free from Racism event, is also expecting a number of special guests including Regina Mayor Michael Fougere, Opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon, federal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale and Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield.

"It's exciting," she said. "Ukrainian Christmas is always exciting."

Ukrainian Christmas is Saturday, Jan. 7.

Traditional nesting dolls adorn Barb Dedi's table. (Jill Morgan/CBC)
Barb Dedi is all decked out for Ukrainian Christmas. Every year, she invites dozens of people to her home for the traditional 12 meatless dishes of Ukrainian Christmas Eve. (Jill Morgan/CBC)

With files from the Morning Edition

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