Kvitka Ukrainian School of Dance members perform during Malanka celebrations last January at Surrey’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary. (submitted photo)

Kvitka Ukrainian School of Dance members perform during Malanka celebrations last January at Surrey’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary. (submitted photo)

Malanka celebration in Surrey pivots as virtual fundraiser for Ukrainian church

Tickets are $30 for event on Jan. 16

Surrey’s Ukrainian community will celebrate Malanka in a much different way this year.

The folk holiday, observed on Jan. 13 as New Year’s Eve in accordance with the Julian calendar, is typically a time for get-togethers, but not so during B.C.’s current COVID-related restrictions.

Instead, members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary will host a virtual fundraiser, on Saturday, Jan. 16.

It’s an occasion “to dress up and enjoy family dinner,” according to an event advisory posted to Facebook. “Let’s celebrate together while apart.”

Tickets for last year’s Malanka event were $65 per person, and this year’s virtual event is priced at less than half that amount: $30. Donations are also “highly appreciated and help our church survive.”

Those who tune in “can dress up with glitz and glamour, or choose to stay comfy in warm pyjamas in the comfort and security of your own home,” event organizers suggest. “No need to worry about road conditions, parking or choosing a designated driver. Your menu will be the favourite dishes that you prepare for yourself. We’ll send you a link to a playlist and you can dance to all the songs, or just the ones that get your toes tapping.”

To buy a ticket or learn more details, email yuliya.shokalyuk@gmail.com, call 604-531-1923 or visit facebook.com/UkrainianOrthodoxSurrey.

• RELATED STORY, from September: ‘Ukrainian soul food’ fundraiser returns to Surrey hall, with a twist.

While most of the western world adheres to the Gregorian calendar, which was established in 1582, many Ukrainians still recognize the holidays of the much older Julian calendar.

Malanka celebrates the feast day of St. Melania, when carolers went from home to home with a man dressed in women’s clothing performing a short play, playing pranks, merrymaking and singing “shchedrivky,” or carols of good wishes.

“But Malanka also has roots in ancient folklore when, according to legend, Malanka was the daughter of Mother Earth and personified spring,” organizers of the Surrey event say. “She was a captive of the winter darkness and the earth would remain frozen and barren until she was released from her captivity. To ensure a bountiful and prosperous new year, the night was spent dancing and partying.”

Meantime, the church group’s COVID-modified “Ukrainian Soul Food” dinners continue, with the next one scheduled for Friday, Jan. 29. The event sells “hot take-away dinners or items to stock up that freezer,” from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the hall in Whalley (13512 108th Ave.).

• READ MORE, from September: ‘Ukrainian soul food’ fundraiser returns to Surrey hall, with a twist.


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