‘We don’t have our family’: Newcomer family marks first Orthodox Christmas in Manitoba

A newcomer family, who came to Canada from Ukraine last year, is celebrating their first Orthodox Christmas in Manitoba, and is feeling the absence of some of their family members.

Daria Gorska, who is from Kyiv, said Christmas is one of her favourite holidays, adding that her family always celebrates with a big feast that takes a lot of preparation.

“We prepare. We go every week to the church for communion, for everything. We are preparing for Christmas,” she explained.

“That’s a very good, very nice tradition in Ukraine.”

She said this year’s Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7 will look different for her family. Daria said they will try to follow their traditions, including having 12 dishes on the table to correspond with the number of apostles.

“That’s not the point. We don’t have our family with us,” she said.

“Our parents, my sister, my bunch of nephews and nieces. So it will be different.”

Gorska added she still plans to go church, adding that she hopes she’s able to bring something new to the community as she’s taught them some Ukrainian carols.

“I will try to help them to feel the atmosphere of our Christmas,” she said.


Gorska said she noticed some differences with Christmas in Canada on Dec. 25, as people tended to stay home with their families and the streets were empty.

Gorska said her family felt a bit lonely on Christmas, so they decided to take a trip to Assiniboine Park.

“We had fun. Really, winter here is very beautiful,” she said.

“There’s a lot of snow and everything. It doesn’t look like a Ukrainian winter.”

– With files from CTV’s Jill Macyshon.

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