Christmas fuss is no ritual. It is about family, caring, love and warmth. About the holiday that gathers at the table once a year the whole family and godparents. In the Odessa family, Ukrainians and Russians, Poles and Armenians, Jews and Bulgarians, Greeks and Abkhazians gather at the same table. Everyone has their religion, no lean food, but Christmas unites everyone, being a beloved holiday in every family. Of course, you can cook jellied meat in May, maybe it will even be tastier, but it won’t impress anyone.
It is good when such things exist that don’t change from year to year. Needless to change them at all. To prepare The Supper for godparents and godchildren, to look for the most delicious sweets in shiny candy wraps, huge walnuts and fragrant mandarins. To grind patiently the poppy in makitra for kutia (coliphia). To make dumplings, repeating after the grandmother, so that they look exactly like the other. To gather near the pan with jellied meat and ask each other: ready or not ready? To open the doors to the little ones that barely reach the bell standing on tiptoe. Listen to how they sing carols and sow wheat. Treat them with sweets and thank them with coins, leaving the wheat on the floor for a while so that the year will be prosperous and generous.
There should be 12 dishes on the Odessa table, and everyone should definitely try them! Kutia (or coliphia), which is served for everyone, opens The Supper; Russian and beetroot salads, a herring served with onions and black as coals, olives: pinkie-sized galumpkis, dumplings with potatoes or cabbage, fried “korop “(As the carp is called in Odessa), rooster jelly meat,” king of the table” – a roasted goose, if lucky, and a duck, if not. Prunes with nuts in sour cream, an uzvar (dried fruits compote), and of course, Christmas sweet rolls with poppy seeds or cottage cheese.
Children adore this holiday! They just celebrated the New Year, received the long-awaited gifts, pre-ordered from Santa Claus (of course, only if the whole year kids behaved), and now Christmas comes! Little minions of fate receive gifts and sweets. Whom to spoil if not beloved kids? Especially in Odessa, it is customary. On Christmas, the children offer The Supper to their godparents, carefully assembled by their mother, and exchange it for bright and colourful packages with sweets and gifts. And with any luck, godparents may present an envelope with money to spend on another child’s dream.
Odessa is more than two hundred years old and during this time people of 133 nationalities lived in this city. Odessa is the mother of many children. And every child has own religion, holidays and traditions. She united them as if in a large pot of life many nations were mixed, and the word Odessit (Odessa resident) appeared. Everyone has own God, but if he is in your heart, then Love and Family live in your house, and it’s quiet and calm in your soul. Have a magical Christmas!