Malanka: Traditional Ukrainian New Year’s party planned

Jan. 14 marks the Ukrainian New Year and an evening of dancing, entertainment and food has been planned to celebrate the event.

Elwood and Jean Jury

Elwood and Jean Jury

Anyone who thinks the holiday season is over isn’t Ukrainian.

Jan. 14 marks the Ukrainian New Year and an evening of dancing, entertainment and food has been planned to celebrate the event.

As it has done for more than three decades, the Ukrainian Club of Abbotsford Association (formerly known as the Fraser Valley Ukrainian Cultural Society) is hosting a Malanka.

“It’s the same as New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31. You go to a big do, have a meal, see some entertainment. It’s the same,” explained Jean Jury.

Jury, and her husband Elwood, are founding members of the group, which currently has 30-40 members.

“We start planning in September, to get the committee

together,” said Jean.

The Jurys along with 15 volunteers were kept busy earlier this week, making up 96 dozen perogies for the celebration.

The food is one of the key elements of the New Year’s festivities.

“We’ve already sold tickets to people in the Okanagan who want to come, just for the food,” said Jean.

The event usually attracts more than 200 people who get to sample perogies, cabbage rolls, garlic sausage and more.

But it isn’t just about food.

“We have our dance group that does a 20-minute show,” said Elwood.

The Yevshan Ukrainian Dancers are part of the association and are always a popular attraction. This year’s event will also feature award-winning fiddler Mike Sanyshyn.

The Malanka celebration takes place Jan. 14 at Sts. Joachim and Ann’s Church Hall located at 2827 273rd St. in Aldergrove. Doors open at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 7 p.m.

For more information, call 604-217-2398.

Ukrainian Christmas

Today (Jan. 6) is Ukrainian Christmas Eve and, unlike the New Year celebration, families gather together for a quieter, traditional meal.

The dinner, which is meatless, consists of 12 courses, representing the 12 apostles.

The first item to be eaten is called Kutia, a cold cooked wheat with honey and poppyseeds. It’s similar to a very moist stew.

“Ukraine was the bread basket of Europe … that’s why wheat is the first course,” explained Jean.

The rest of the meal consists of kolash (pastry with fruit), borsch, stuffed salmon or fried fillets, pickled herring, cabbage rolls, varenyky (stuffed dumpling), sauerkraut and peas, broad or mashed beans, pidpenky (mushroom) in gravy, compote (fruit dessert) and pampushky (a light pastry or doughnut).

Traditionally, Christmas Eve dinner was not started until the first star is seen in the sky.

“You had to hope it wasn’t cloudy,” said Elwood.