Halychanka Kutia Wheat
The first dish eaten, traditionally a spoonful of Kutia was thrown to the ceiling to foretell the prosperity for the coming year by the number of kernels that adhere to it. The more kernels stuck…a good and prosperous new year! After dinner, the kutia is left on the table for the whole night with spoons for the dead ancestors, “so that our relatives would have dinner and not be angry with us.” The religious nature of the dish is emphasized by an ancient custom, when the head of the family approached the window or went out into the yard with a spoonful of kutia and, addressing the frost, invited him three times to take part in dinner with the family. When the frost does not appear, he is advised not to appear, not to do harm to crops, etc .: “Frost, frost, come to us to eat kutia, and if you don’t come, don’t come for the rye, wheat and other crops.”
Kutia is the first out of twelve dishes served for Svyata vecherya to be tasted. The head of the family takes the first spoon of the kutia, raises it up and calls out to the souls of departed family members to join them on this night. He then tastes the kutia, and throws the rest of the spoonful up to the ceiling. As many kernels of grain as stick to the ceiling, there should be swarms of bees and newborn cattle in the coming year. As many poppy seeds as remained on the ceiling, each hen should lay as many eggs in the coming year. Everyone present eats a spoonful of kutia, after which the other dishes are brought out an eaten.
Christianity was introduced into Ukraine in 988 A.D. The flourishing pagan religion and traditions associated with it were too deeply rooted in the people to allow the Church to eradicate them completely. So the Church adopted a policy of tolerance toward most of the ancient customs. Christmas Eve Supper or Sviata Vecheria (Holy Supper) brings the family together to partake in many customs and traditions, which reach back to antiquity. The rituals of the Sviata Vecheria are dedicated to the Gods, welfare of the family, and to the remembrance of the ancestors.
This raw, non-GMO, certified organic wheat has its roots in Ukraine. Produced on a Ukrainian farm in Manitoba. Cooking instructions on back of package or see my recipe below.
Before you start dinner a spoonful is to be thrown on the ceiling – if it sticks, then it will be a good year, and the more kernels that stick the better your good fortune will be. It is always served as the first dish before eating.
- 1 pint (2 cups) cooked wheat
- 11-12 cups water (to boil wheat)
- 6 tablespoons ground poppy seeds ( I don’t actually grind mine I like getting them stuck in my teeth. 😬)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- Place wheat in water the night before to soak. The next morning bring to a boil then turn down to simmering and cook for 5 hrs.
- In the morning put your poppy seeds in water to soak for a few hours. Drain & place in your mortar & pestle and grind.
- When the wheat has split open add your poppy seeds, chopped walnuts, & honey.
- Serve at dinner cold and save the leftovers for breakfast Christmas Day!
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