Ukrainian Christmas celebration held at Ramsgate Salvation Army

Ukrainian Christmas gathering Photo Raushan Ara

More than 100 people gathered at Ramsgate Salvation Army on Saturday (January 7) for the traditional date when Christmas is celebrated in Ukraine.

The event welcomed members of the Ukrainian refugee community in Ramsgate.

The celebration included songs, carols and poetry performed by children from the Ukrainian community, short speeches from participants and a spread of Ukrainian Christmas food brought along by the many families attending.

Many of the children and adults wore traditional Ukrainian embroidered clothing and the hall was decorated with Ukrainian flags. People attending came from all over Thanet, Deal and further afield.

Photo Tricia Austin

Event organiser Nadia Grigorieva said: “The people of Ramsgate have been so kind and generous to us since we arrived here, so we wanted to take this chance to say thank you. We have so many people to thank, including all the hosts and sponsors who have offered us such wonderful hospitality in their homes, our Mayor and Central Harbour ward councillors Becky Wing and Tricia Austin, who run regular meetings for us to share information, Jeanette Hall and the other volunteers who run English classes for us, and Carl Whitewood and friends at the Salvation Army who’ve given us so much us help and opened their buildings to us for meetings, social events and classes.

Photo Christina Rzaieva

“I want to thank everyone who has prepared food and helped in other ways for the event. I also want to thank Taisia and Julia who have done a great job working with the children, creating their performance and then organising a games programme for them today in a separate room so the adults can spend some time talking, relaxing and enjoying their Christmas!”

Photo Christina Rzaieva

The Ramsgate group meets regularly at the Salvation Army – for English classes on Friday afternoons 1.30pm – 2.30pm and on Saturday mornings for family sessions – and also runs a WhatsApp group with some 100 members to share useful information.

For more details or to join the Whatsapp group, contact Cllr Tricia Austin at [email protected]

Christmas in Ukraine can be celebrated on December 25 or January 7. This is because different Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches within Ukraine use the old ‘Julian’ or the ‘new’ Gregorian calendars for their church festivals. Some have ‘Christmas’ and ‘Orthodox Christmas’.