Ceramic watering bowl, decorated with engobe painting on a white background. Ivano-Frankivsk region, Kosiv, beginning 20th century
The iconic Christmas dishes for the festive Ukrainian table are uzvar, kutia, bread, meat dishes, and pickled vegetables. With the rising of the first star in the sky on the night of December 24-25 (January 6-7), fasting ends, meaning there should be meat and fermented dishes on the table. Traditionally, before Christmas in Ukraine, a pig was slaughtered: bacon was salted, sausages were stuffed (meat sausages twisted with a snail) and baked blood sausages, aspic jellies were cooked, and hams were baked and smoked. Some meat dishes were eaten during the Christmas holidays, and some baked sausages and meat were covered with salo and stored until Easter. In some regions, meat and salo were smoked, and it was also easily preserved until Easter.
Decorative plate, ceramic. Ivano-Frankivsk Region, Kosiv. The end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century.
Baklaga, ceramic, Ivano-Frankivsk region, Kosiv district, the village of Kuty, early 20th century
Ukrainian Christmas also has a taste of uzvar (a thick and sweet drink made from dried apples, pears, plums, and cherries) and kutia, without which it is difficult to imagine Christmas dinner today. In different regions, dishes varied, but kutia and uzvar were on any Ukrainian table (except, perhaps, in Transcarpathia: here, uzvar was not cooked). Honey gingerbread and poppy seed cakes, vyvyvantsi (rolls) with poppy seeds, or with grated boiled fruit from uzvar were also cooked. And also verguny or pampukhy.
Kumanets ceramic, Poltava region, Zinkiv district, Opishnya, beginning of the 20th century
Wooden makitra, decorated with carvings, Ivano-Frankivsk region, second half of the 19th century. Cutting, hollowing, carpentry techniques, carving. Collection of Ivan Honchar Museum.
Ceramic makitra with lid, Kyiv region, Obukhiv, 19th century. Clay, irrigation, engobes; potter's wheel, painting. Collection of Ivan Honchar Museum.
Ceramic bowl, Poltava region, Zinkiv district, the village of Misʹki Mlyny, beginning of the 20th century. Clay, irrigation, engobes; potter's wheel, painting. Collection of Ivan Honchar Museum.
White bowl, decorated with "combs", Kyiv region, Obukhiv. The beginning of the XX century. Clay, irrigation, engobes; potter's wheel, underwater painting by the Angobas. Collection of Ivan Honchar Museum.
Myska, Khmelnytskyi region, Dunayevetsky district, the village of Smotrych, 1920-30s. Clay; underwater painting by the Angobas. Collection of Ivan Honchar Museum.
Before the Christmas holidays, every house baked gingerbread in the shape of maidens, horsemen, roosters, and boots and horsemen. All of them have a common name – "panyanka".
Gingerbreads were baked, smeared with beetroot juice and hot painted with symbolic ornaments. They could be up to 50 cm in size, and you could eat such a "candy" for three days.
Sometimes they were stored until the summer, and before consumption they were soaked in milk. Festively painted gingerbreads stood in a circle on the stove and created a unique decor of the space.
Didukh by Olha Sakhno, tablecloth by Alla and Volodymyr Markaryan, handkerchiefs by Olga Kostyuchenko