Drinking shots of vodka must have been how guests kept warm during a Christmas Eve dinner on a sub-zero winter’s night in the Ukraine.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense that one of the rituals at a Ukrainian Christmas Eve is for each guest to raise a vodka-filled shot glass, enthusiastically shout “Di Bozaj” (“To God”), then chug it all down in one fell swoop. Every January 6, Ernie Paskaruk and Marilyn Noland’s 12 guests get to partake in this ritual – one of many in their cozy Mexican casita – during their annual Ukrainian Christmas Eve.
For the past 20 years, Paskaruk and Noland have hosted a Ukrainian Christmas Eve during their six-month “snowbird” stay in Ajijic. Fortunately, none of their guests have to endure biting cold temperatures to experience the Ukrainian traditions the two feel so passionate about. Even though their casita is small, they manage to turn one of their bedrooms into a dining area, where all are seated comfortably around a long table. This year, the couple even made room for two new neighbors, bringing the count to an untraditional fourteen.