Christmas for Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic
Advent and Christmas are, for most of us, festive times of joy and closeness. For children a time of looking forward to gifts. For Christians a time of celebrating the coming of Jesus Christ to Earth. This Christmas is also the first, and hopefully the last, that millions of people have to spend away from home, separated from their families and friends because of the war in Ukraine. ADRA Czech Republic is doing its best to make their Holiday season as comfortable as possible.
“The children are waiting for gifts and do not lose faith in magic, but they miss home and their father very much. New Year is undoubtedly a magical time, and it is fascinating to see how this holiday is celebrated in the Czech Republic. We plan to celebrate as always with family, but for the first time without father, it is very sad …” Vladislava, a Ukrainian refugee in the Czech Republic, explained.
The ADRA Czech Republic is trying to make the Holiday season a little more pleasant for those who have found refuge in their country.
Even though Christmas is celebrated in Ukraine a few days later than in the Czech Republic, and the customs and way of celebration are also different, the time spent with family and friends is what unites both countries.
ADRA has therefore prepared various joint events for refugees from Ukraine, the vast majority of whom are women and children. The festivities bring Czech traditions closer. Above all, they want to offer a friendly environment and an open community where everyone will feel welcome and forget, at least for a while, how their lives were changed beyond recognition from one day to the next.
“Christmas is not a real holiday for me this year because we are not at home and there is a war in our country. But Christmas trees and children’s smiles remain. Denys is in a festive mood and is happy with the Christmas trees; he is waiting for the presents. We live with hope and hope for better times”, Natalia said.
Thanks to Air Bank’s financial support, all 15 of ADRA Czech Republic’s volunteer centres can organize events for children and adults. In Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Pilsen, Frýdek-Místek and many other places, joint meetings, creations, Santa Claus parties, tree decorating, concerts and other beautiful activities are already in full swing.
One of them is the traditional “Saint Nicholas gatherings” in the Czech Republic. The character of Nicholas (Mikuláš) is well known to Ukrainian children and is even more significant for them than for Czech children. In Ukraine, children don’t find presents under a tree that looks like the Three Kings, but Nicholas comes on December 19 and usually leaves gifts by the bed. A common tradition is singing carols or reciting poems by decorated trees in squares or schools.
ADRA Czech Republic is encouraging us to open our hearts this Christmas time and remember those in need. We can support them through prayer and donations.