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Des Ukrainians in Winnipeg mark Orthodox Christmas for the last time in January | War in Ukraine

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Winnipeg resident Nick Kowalchuk lights candles during what he describes as the last meal of Orthodox Christmas Eve in January .

Radio-Canada

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Some Ukrainian nationals in Winnipeg are celebrating Orthodox Christmas on Sunday for the last time in January, after Ukraine moved Christmas Day to December 25 in a sign of defiance of Russia.

Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a law to move the official Christmas holiday from January 7 to December 25, breaking with the previous year. Russian heritage dating back over 100 years.

Winnipeg resident Nick Kowalchuk, whose family gathered with loved ones on Saturday, says he will celebrate the event for the last time in January. /p>

Feelings are mixed, because this party was unique and it was a time when we came together… and we will miss it, explains Mr. Kowalchuk.

His family is already thinking about how to celebrate this holiday next year.

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We will meet and, whatever the date, we will do like everyone else, says Mr. Kowalchuk, while admitting that it may not be entirely authentic.

Two Ukrainian churches in Winnipeg, Holy Trinity Cathedral and St. Mary the Protectress Church, have adopted the revised Julian calendar, following the ;Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.

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St. Mary the Protectress Church President Oksana Bondarchuk, left, chats with a Ukrainian family after the Orthodox Christmas Eve service.

According to the president of St. Mary the Protectress Church, Oksana Bondarchuk, this change breaks with a tradition deeply rooted in Ukrainian culture, while understanding the need to break with Russia.

For me it's a bit unsettling because I've always only known January 6th and 7th. When I was a child, we didn't recognize December 24 and 25. We never had a tree before January 1, she points out.

We had a discussion about this within our church at a parish meeting, and it was obvious that the new arrivals , mainly refugees, all supported the 24th and 25th in order to break ties with the oppressor. And we understand this decision perfectly.

It recognizes that the transition from January to December will not be immediate for all Ukrainians.

I think it will take at least a generation for this change to be complete, she believes.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada has informed all parishes that they are not required to immediately adopt the revised Julian calendar.

With information from Nathan Liewicki

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