February 1, 2019

Christmastime festivities held at Ukrainian History and Education Center

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Christine Syzonenko

Seen with St. Nicholas (from left): Daria Pishko Komichak, UHEC treasurer; Oksana Pasakas, UHEC collections manager and registrar, education coordinator; Natalia Honcharenko, UHEC director; library volunteer Ludmilla Bezsoniw; UHEC archivist Michael Andrec.

SOMERSET, N.J. – Christmas cheer and the festive spirit came to the Ukrainian History and Education Center during December 2018 at the second annual Ukrainian Christmas Tree Trimming Fund-Raiser. UHEC staff, members of the Board of Trustees and friends gathered to support the ongoing programs and activities of the UHEC.

Bandurist Oksana Telepko performs.

Those gathered on Saturday evening, December 8, had the opportunity to decorate three unique Christmas trees in the rotunda and Library of the Consistory Building of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of U.S.A. One tree was decorated with Ukrainian pysanky, another with icons and mini embroidered rushnyky, and the third with traditional Ukrainian Christmas ornaments of spiders. The ornaments were hand-made and donated by Shirley Skocypec, a now-retired employee of the UOC-U.S.A.

This year’s featured performance was singer and bandurist Oksana Telepko, who entertained the crowd with several Ukrainian folk songs and unique Christmas carols. Following her performance, St. Andrew Memorial Church parishioner Walter Syzonenko, playing the accordion, led the gathered crowd in a round of Ukrainian Christmas carols. The caroling ended with the traditionally sung “Oh, Khto, Khto Mykolaya Liubyt’” in anticipation of St. Nicholas visiting the UHEC and Consistory.

Guest Ania Shevchenko trims a tree.

The following weekend, on Sunday, December 16, families and children gathered eagerly, anticipating the arrival of St. Nicholas. During this year’s St. Nicholas workshop, children and adults decorated St. Nicholas cookies, made traditional Ukrainian wrapped angel ornaments and colored icons of the revered saint while learning his story. St. Nicholas spent the afternoon with the children, who were able to take photographs with him as a keepsake.

For more information on the programs of the Ukrainian History and Education Center, readers may go to www.ukrhec.org or https://www.facebook.com/ukrhec/; call 732-356-0132; or e-mail info@ukehec.org.