The Christmas season concludes a little later for those who celebrate according to the Julian calendar. On Friday, January 19, visitors are invited to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (UCHV) for Iordan – Feast of Jordan! This annual event at the UCHV celebrates the cultural and religious traditions observed during the Christmas season by Alberta’s early Ukrainian pioneers. It’s a day of traditional church services, water blessing at an ice cross, tasty Ukrainian food and free wagon rides!
January 19 is a holy day in the Ukrainian church calendar. Iordan, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany, is observed annually to celebrate the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. At the Ukrainian Village, this is commemorated with divine liturgies that include the blessing of water (vodokhreshchennia or vodosviachennia), and clergy visiting pioneers to bless their homes with holy water.
The Ukrainian Village will be open to public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (gates open at 9 a.m.) for this one-day event. Liturgies will commence at 9:30 a.m. at the St. Nicholas Russo-Greek Orthodox and at 10 a.m. at the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church.
Bring a glass jar!
At the conclusion of the liturgies, all participants are invited to witness a water blessing ceremony in front of an ice cross. This ceremony, starting at 11:30 a.m., features the priest blessing the water by making the sign of the cross in the water with his khrest (cross) and a trysvichnyk (a triple-pronged candle). Afterwards, a crowd favourite, especially for young children standing in the front row, is the priest using his kropylo (holy water brush-sprinkler) to sprinkle water over the participants.
After the water is blessed, visitors can collect a small amount of holy water to take home. After the ceremony, follow the clergy as they bless a number of historic homes at this open-air museum or enjoy a free wagon ride through the historical village. Wagon rides are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What is a didukh?
The didukh is the ceremonial sheaf of grain that was brought into the home for Christmas Eve supper. It was traditionally the final sheaf of wheat, oats, barley or buckwheat collected during the fall harvest. On Christmas Eve, this sheaf was placed in a corner of the room where it remained until Iordan. On this feast day, the didukh was taken outside and burnt in the yard. Learn more about this between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and you may be invited to jump over the smoking didukh!
Try some festive foods!
Enjoy food service from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with traditional Ukrainian fare from the Friends of the Ukrainian Village Society. The menu for this event includes: kutia (boiled wheat with honey and poppy seed), borshch (beet soup), pyrohy (perogies), and smoked pork shoulder roast. Coffee and tea will also be available in the morning beginning at 9 a.m.
When: Friday, January 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (gates open at 9 a.m.)
Admission: for Iordan is $7.50 for adults and $6.50 for seniors, Children six and under are admitted free. Admission is also free for those with a current Experience Alberta’s History Pass or Friends of the Ukrainian Village Society membership card.
About the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village:
Operated by Alberta Culture and Tourism, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is located 25 minutes east of Edmonton on Highway 16. Apart from Iordan, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is closed until May 19, 2018.