Harmony and Hope: A special Ukrainian Christmas Celebration Unites Cultures

Published on: 20th December 2023

Over a hundred guests and hosts came together in a heartwarming celebration hosted by the Bishop of Hereford last weekend. The festive gathering, which took place at The Bishop’s Palace in Hereford, featured performances by Ukrainian children and adult choirs singing traditional Ukrainian songs.


The highlight of the evening was the soul-stirring performance by the Ukrainian children's choir, accompanied by Alla Mihai, fondly known as Aunt Alla in Ukraine, where she held a prominent role in children's television for many years. The event also showcased the musical talents of Galina, a special guest who played her bandura, and Malvina, a young piano virtuoso who captivated the audience with her delightful performance.


The Fetch Theatre who have been working with the Ukrainian community over the past six months welcomed guests with a larger-than-life dragonfly puppet and other whimsical characters, creating a magical ambiance.


The evening wasn't just about festive cheer; it was also a time for reflection and remembrance. The Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford, welcomed everyone and provided a moment for contemplation, allowing attendees to think about their loved ones in Ukraine and those who have been lost. A collective prayer for peace resonated through the venue, embodying the spirit of unity that characterized the entire event.


Lesley Grady, Project officer for the diocese Homes for Ukraine scheme, said: “There was much laughter, many stories, and a few tears, which made this a really joyous community celebration.  I love my job, it is such a privilege to serve our Ukrainian guests, and I give thanks for our many wonderful hosts too. We partner with the local council to develop strong, supportive local networks. What we've built is a model of success in Herefordshire and the county should be proud of the welcome we’ve offered Ukrainian guests.”


Sandra, a Ukrainian guest, added: “The festive atmosphere and joyous moments created a special memory - the generosity and the warm hospitality the team provided leave a lasting impact and we feel truly fortunate to have been a part of the celebration.”


As the year draws to a close, the event served as a poignant reminder of the importance of coming together to celebrate the season and support one another, fostering connections that bridge cultures and create lasting memories.


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