Feast of Jordan – A Day of Blessings, Bison and Borshch!

Get a taste of life as a pioneer at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village on Saturday, January 19 for Iordan – Feast of Jordan! This unique annual event is open to all. It’s a day of Ukrainian traditions such as a water blessing at an ice cross, burning of a didukh (a sheaf of grain), delicious 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, celebrates the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. To commemorate this one-day event, the village will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (gates open at 9 a.m.). 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.

Feast on traditional Ukrainian food

Enjoy delectable 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 kovbasa (Ukrainian sausage). Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coffee and tea will be available beginning at 9 a.m.

Have a blessed day

Witness an outdoor 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, the priest uses his kropylo (holy water brush-sprinkler) to sprinkle water over the participants—always a crowd favourite! After the water is blessed, visitors can collect a small amount of holy water to take home.

Enjoy a free wagon ride

When the water blessing is over visitors can enjoy a wagon ride through parts of the Ukrainian Village. Wagon rides are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Step back in time and bring in good fortune for the year

Step inside the homestead of early pioneers, now the Stelmach House Learning Centre, a project undertaken in partnership with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Alberta Provincial Council. The learning centre will be open from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Participate in a traditional didukh burning ceremony. The didukh is the ceremonial sheaf of grain brought into the home for Christmas Eve supper and placed in a corner of the room where it remained until Iordan. On this feast day, pioneers took the didukh outside, laid out it into the shape of a cross and burned it, releasing the good spirits into the air. Pioneers would jump over the smoking didukh in the belief that it would bring in good fortune for the year ahead. Learn more about this traditional activity between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

You can also experience life of the early Ukrainian settlers across the prairies in our feature exhibit, a collection of paintings by Peter Shostak. Painting to Remember: A Collection of Works by Peter Shostak on display in our visitor centre features a variety of paintings including two pieces being exhibited for the first time. The exhibit will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Learn about bison in east central Alberta

Sit around the fire with Elk Island National Park staff and be immersed in the world of bison!  Learn about the role Parks Canada has played bringing plains and wood bison back from the brink of extinction. Since 1906, the park has played a vital role in the survival of this species. Test your survival skills with a bison game. Available from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo: Elk Island National Park

The Details

When: Saturday, Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (gates open at 9 a.m.)

 Admission: $7.50 for adults and $6.50 for seniors. Free for children six and under, and 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 25 minutes east of Edmonton on Highway 16. Apart from Iordan, the village is closed until May 18, 2019.

 Need more info? Visit the website or call 780-662-3640 (dial 310-0000 for toll-free access in Alberta).For information on all of Alberta’s historic sites and museums, visit alberta.ca.


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