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Music

"Nova radist stala" - A Christmas greeting from Ukraine

DW editor Khrystyna Nikolaychuk comes from Ukraine. A favorite holiday memory of hers is singing a local Christmas favorite, "Nova radist stala" (A New Joy Has Come), with her family.

At Christmas time, Khrystyna Nikolaychuk always visits her grandmother in the small village of Kovalevka in the Carpathian Mountains. Khrystyna used to spend all of her vacations there. Now, her entire family - who live in different parts of the world - come together on this day. 20 people sit down to a shared meal. "My babushka keeps the family together," she says. "She cooks twelve traditional dishes on this evening, all of which must be vegetarian, since it's still the Advent fasting period for us."

The central dish is kutya - a tasty, hearty pudding made from wheatberry, poppyseed, nuts and honey. "My grandmother always throws the first spoonful into the air," Khrystyna says. "The person who catches the most grain will have the most fortune in the new year."

Then, everyone sings "Nova radist stala" (A New Joy Has Come) - the quintessential Ukrainian Christmas song about the birth of Christ. The shepherds and angels sing together and, overjoyed, even David plays his harp toward the heavens in celebration of Jesus Christ.

What's important to Khrystyna Nikolaychuk and her family: "You ask God the Father to give many long years of life to both the person hosting your Christmas dinner, and to all Ukrainians."