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Lviv is a unique city, in which the history, culture, mentality of two worlds – the East and the West – are tolerantly merged

Christmas in UCU

Perhaps the first wave of the Christmas spirit came on December 19th where all of UCU celebrated the feast day of Saint Nicholas.  In Ukraine, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children.  He was a third century bishop who had a particularly holy piety towards the poor and their children.  Today, Ukrainians celebrate his feast by gift-gifting to close friends, family and especially to children.  

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For the Catholics following the Roman liturgical calendar, Tuesday was a wonderful Christmas day.  And yes most of the students, professors, and staff will celebrate Christmas January 6-7 but they happily joined the celebrations on December 25th.

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On Tuesday evening the teachers and volunteers gathered at an UCU apartment to celebrate Christmas with food, glint wine, and presents.  It was wonderful to spend the time talking about different Christmas traditions and the differences between Christmas in North America and in Ukraine.  For example, because most children receive presents on December 19, St. Nicholas’ feast day, celebrating The Nativity in January is more about spending time with family and loved ones without as many presents and paying more attention to the holy day.

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From the opening toast of glint wine to the sweet conclusion of apple strudel with vanilla sauce, there was plenty of food to go around at dinner.  Everything was homemade and from the heart.  I can tell because it was DELICIOUS.  The Christmas carols in the background and the tinsel around the dining area gave the place the perfect festive glow.  Some of the group lingered after the party to YouTube our favorite Christmas carols and watch bits of our favorite Christmas movies.  And from start to finish, we watched “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” because no Christmas would be complete without watching this 1964 wholesome, animated classic. 

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After the drinks were gone, we cleaned up the party and headed home.  Thankfully, it wasn’t too cold outside so our trips home were easy; full stomachs, warm jackets, and Christmas visions made the evening complete.  Even though our families missed us at home, we could not have had a nicer Christmas with UCU in snowy Lviv.

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(c) Lydia Mazuryk