St. Nicholas in Ukrainian Tradition

Cultural Notes and Fun-Learning Ideas

by Lena Hryhor Gulutsan

Mikulas and angels giving gifts to Ukrainian children
Illustration: Halia Koszaryca, from Sing-A-Long Treasures, Kazka Productions, Ltd., Used by permission

Traditionally, December 19 is recognized as St. Nicholas' Day, a holy and joyous celebration that may include poetry and singing. Children hasten St. Nicholas' arrival by singing this song, getting louder and more enthusiastic until he appears. He may arrive on foot or on a sleigh. He is normally dressed in a bishop's robe and is usually accompanied by angels (children in costumes) who help distribute gifts and goodies from St. Nicholas' sack. Note: Celebrations surrounding St. Nicholas may vary from region to region, and there exist different versions of the song.

Class Activity

One child is costumed as St. Nicholas, others as angels. Into a bag are placed cardboard cut-outs, or real objects, for gifts. St. Nicholas and his angels leave the room. The remaining children form a circle and begin to sing the song. St. Nicholas enters with the angels, summons everyone's attention, announces each gift as it is produced and presents it to a classmate who also announces it.

From Sing-A-Long Treasures: A Collection of Rhymes, Songs and Verses in Ukrainian and English created, compiled and translated by Lena Hryhor Gulutsan, Kazka Productions, Ltd., Edmonton, Canada. Used by permission.

This is one of a series of five delightful little bi-lingual read-and-sing-along books. Colorfully illustrated, each comes with a cassette. Kazka books enable bilingual learning and cross-cultural appreciation. Purchase from Art by Larisa.

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