Sunday, 11 November 2012

Puschenia Fall 2012

Puschenia is a pre-lenten celebration (in anticipation of the lenten periods before Christmas and Easter).  Puschenia is a party!

In Canada it involves a supper and dance, a last opportunity to indulge before the 40 day fasting and prayerful preparation for the Feast. Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox Lent encompasses the 40 days of preparation for Christmas. Those who celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar on December 25th, will have Puschenia by the 15th of November. Those who celebrate Christmas by the Julian calendar, on January 7th, will have Puschenia no later than November 28th.

Ukrainian Christmas traditions are really an accumulation of hopes, dreams and prayers, all transmitted in symbolic form to the present. The ancestral agrarian relationship with nature, the physical reminders of the cycles of life, and the seasons of living are evident in almost all the Ukrainian Christmas traditions we know today.

Ukraine was welcomed into the kingdoms of the Christian world in 988 AD, and the people whose pagan practices and traditions filled every breathing moment,  increasingly came to understand their world through a Christian lens. Already understanding the multi-layered nature of life, ancestral Ukrainians were simply sophisticated enough to see how the culture they were already living, had prepared the way for the Christian story - an evolution of values, beliefs and credos.  Their relationship with nature, expressions of life, cycles, seeding of good will,  had already instilled in them a bone-deep appreciation for deferred gratification.  With the Christian message of the "world to come", Ukrainians, a patient people, prepared for the "Good News" - for the joyous Feast of the  Birth of Christ - Christmas!

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