Christmas Boxes from Dzyga’s Paw
In Ukraine, Christmas is hugely celebrated. It is a whirlpool of Christian and pagan traditions, topped up with hundreds of carols, traditional wandering theatres, days of hosting and guesting, and more. It is a time of joy, friendship, and light.
We truly think that Ukraine is great. A magnificent country with great potential for development, bright people, and a prospective future. We want to develop a series of projects with the idea of sharing Ukrainian insights with people worldwide. These projects will guide you through our traditions, beliefs, landmarks, tourist attractions, and everyday life.
One of the weak russian justifications for all the crimes committed on our land is that Ukraine was always part of the russian empire. Not even a word is needed to destroy all these false claims – our rich cultural heritage proves the opposite. Yet, Russia tried really hard to destroy it – by prohibiting Ukrainian traditions, oppressing Ukrainian dissidents, and sending people to Siberian work camps for “thinking” Ukrainian. Russia failed miserably.
We shared this celebration with our supporters by assembling a Christmas package to guide them through the ancient Ukrainian celebration that survived and was passed down by our ancestors.
We tried our best to shape Ukrainian traditional Christmas in one box for them to enjoy!
How did we make it?
Even given that we have been creating this project through an active warfare phase with weekly cruise missile strikes on our cities, we still managed to have fun doing it!
Neither damage to the infrastructure nor the absence of electricity has stopped us from packing the boxes, sourcing, and creating the fanciest items!
We have been able to support Ukrainian small businesses with our projects – all the items were created in Ukraine by Ukrainians.
As an example, the supporters got these woolen socks from Ukrainian babusya`s from Lviv geriatric boarding house VBRANI.
Another great example is Pokutska Keramika (Покутська кераміка), which is a Ukrainian local business focusing on creating unique ceramics for the home.
Candle is an essential part on a Cristmas Eve table. It symbolises sun, the life-giving power so important for ancient Ukrainians. Candle is also a symbol of life, so there is a tradition not to blew it after the dinner and let it burn to the end. Tradinionally candles for Cristmas Eve are crafted by hand from beeswax.
Vertep is a traditional wandering theatrical performance staged on Christmas and several days after. The performance is set to tell the story of the nativity of Jesus and the mysteries behind it with some cultural adaptation. During the Christmas holidays verteps wander from house to house and stage the play there, expecting some treats after the play.
In our Christmas Boxes we included postal cards that represent different Vertep characters.
Embroidered towel was an integral attribute of Ukrainians’ everydaylife and also important life events. There are specific ornaments dedicated for different life events and common for certain area. Nowadays embroidered towels are still used during on weddings – newlyweds step on it during the ceremony.
Ukrainian carols (koliadka) are a kaleidoscop of christian and pagan legends, melodies and texts that differ from region to region. Tradition of carolling has been in Ukraine for generations and is an integral part of this Holiday tradition.
Immerse yourself in the Ukrainian Christmas atmosphere with this carol playlist.
What do we think we have achieved?
As per our initial idea, we strived to highlight Ukrainian culture and traditions so more people could appreciate them!
For us, it is a great win if we can have at least one person change his view of Ukraine from “meh” to “wow, nice”.
We are sure that we achieved this!
Take a look what our supporters who received a Christmas gift from Ukraine, from Dzyga’s Paw wrote about them
Yes, I got it this week, and I was very happy to receive it ❤️ There's a lot of things I didn't know, and I find it highly interesting to learn about these Christmas traditions. Above all, your friendly words and friendship across borders makes this Christmas special. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/i4I2pwmX2K— TB (@TB47134218) December 24, 2022
Received a Christmas gift package from @dim0kq. It’s so thoughtful, everything is handmade ❤️ I’m incredibly touched. There was also a beautiful handmade plate inside, but unfortunately the post office broke it.— Sergey Mohov (@krides) January 13, 2023
Folks, please support @dzygaspaw. They do really important work. pic.twitter.com/HdBQqTMdaw
No big deal, but @dim0kq and everyone at @dzygaspaw are amazing people who reduced me to grateful tears this Orthodox Christmas.#UkraineWillWin ✨— Natalia Antonova 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@NataliaAntonova) January 7, 2023
Very nice, thanks a lot! 👍 pic.twitter.com/6qMNuPcRms— aerique 🇺🇦 (@aerique) December 24, 2022
Yesterday I received my gift from Dzyga's Paw@dzygaspaw, thank you very much, everything was chosen so lovingly and I was very happy. The leopard was really happy about the Ukrainian socks and wants to do his work on site as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/XqRol1XT08— Rainer Bischof (@RainerBischof3) January 13, 2023
Thank you for this amazing Christmas parcel (cat wasn't included) @dzygaspaw! Can't wait to learn about Ukrainian Christmas traditions. And thank you for all the amazing work you're doing! 🇺🇦 is going to win! pic.twitter.com/iaHb2AZxmb— Svenja (@SvenjaWeiss6) January 11, 2023
The generosity and grace of the @dzygaspaw team, that they make time in the midst of all they are doing and enduring to send thanks, breaks my heart. Дякую for the beautiful gifts. They’ll bring Ukrainian spirit to this London Christmas every year ❤️🙏. pic.twitter.com/YnprYBrNbc— Kate Higginson (@CageyBeth) December 21, 2022
Before Christmas me and @TrudeKK received this beautiful precent. Thank you so much @dim0kq @dzygaspaw @KyryliukRoma and the rest of the team. We will keep this as a memory as long as we live. I have understood more the ever before that we people need each other. pic.twitter.com/ZsBtpmID3o— Kjetil Gismervik (@passepanda) January 3, 2023