Christmas Carols, Vertep, and Kutya in Lviv: A Perfect Start to 2016

Posted by: U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt

Читати українською

Lviv, January 2016
Lviv, January 2016

Happy New Year, everyone! I was especially lucky to spend my first week back in Ukraine celebrating Christmas in Lviv. Lviv is always beautiful, but the snow-covered churches and Rynok made this trip especially memorable.

As someone who’d never had the chance to visit Lviv during the holidays, I found the level of activity amazing. Thousands gathered in the Rynok, with long lines for ice skating and to climb the tower of the Administrative building.

Lviv, January 2016
Lviv, January 2016

It reminded me a lot of the big Christmas markets I remember from our time in Vienna.  A member of the Rada who joined me in walking around the old town introduced me to Ukrainians from all corners of the country — from Odesa, Slovyansk, Kyiv, and Kharkiv – who had gathered to celebrate in Lviv. It was a powerful demonstration of a united Ukraine.

Lviv, Dominican Church, January 2016
Lviv, Dominican Church, January 2016

I was moved to listen to Christmas carols in the Dominican Church, which would have been outlawed in the Stalin era, and enjoyed the many Vertep processions. Though the tradition of putting on Christmas plays is common across many countries, I didn’t realize how political the Vertep is, with its unique combination of humor, music, and irony.  Later in the evening, I had the rare opportunity to join Mayor Sadovyi, friends, and colleagues for a traditional family Christmas dinner, where I had my first chance to taste kutia. It was delicious! Given how sweet it is, I can understand how it is a once-a-year treat.

Each of these many Christmas traditions exemplifies the pride and creativity that are unique to Ukraine’s national character, and I was glad to share in them with so many Ukrainians united by family, friendship, and tradition.  It was a fitting start to what promises to be a historic year, and makes me even more optimistic about all that 2016 has in store for Ukraine.

4 thoughts on “Christmas Carols, Vertep, and Kutya in Lviv: A Perfect Start to 2016

  1. I am trying to learn about Twitter Cards in Ukrainian here is what I have learned so far about America and #Ukraine @

    Коли ми забуваємо про наше минуле та спадщини, ми не робимо ніякої послуги нашої ідентичності. Україна і США є партнерами у світі.

    Америка повинна підтримати Україну і відкидають агресивну війну.

  2. Пиши на языке, на котором говорили твои родители, урод моральный. “Украйиньский” можешь засунуть в жопу. Бери пример со своих вонявых англосаксов – они пишут по-ангдийски и над тобой, обезьяной, смеются.

  3. I can’t seem to understand the problems in translation.

    Я хотів би запропонувати, використовуючи Google і Bing перевести на вашій мові важко навіть для найрозумніших українською мовою.

    Проблема, здається, щоб бути з обмінної зі сленгових слів в різних діалектах.

    But I am only a poor rural Ukrainian.

    Я зробив деякі коментарі Twitter, щоб запропонувати мирно Бойовий шлях на Близькому Сході і, оскільки вона не може бути легко політики виконавчої влади перевести ці коментарі, я не буду включати ключові слова як само культурного чутливості. Хіба це не здорово WordPress? Те, що відбувається, коли ви канадська боротьба за мир.

  4. Hey good people. How are your holidays? In the holiday spirit and spirit of peace and information, I registered on the Ukrainian edition of Wikipedia because apparently it does not have enough articles to become its own collections? I may be translating this wrong.

    Please help me learn how to edit the Ukrainian collections and add more information about the diaspora to the globe. is the address of my username for @УкраїнаНатисніть on Ukrainian Wikipedia.

    Please help me become a better English and Ukrainian language speaker.

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