On Friday, December 8, Liverpool ONE carried on the Eurovision legacy by organising a Ukrainian Christmas performance featuring local Ukrainian artists.
The moving singing and dancing event happened on Sugar House Steps, and it was inspired by the Ukrainian custom of Kolyada, which entails singing carols and wishing people a happy holiday.
Visitors to the retail and entertainment hub were treated to performances by Ukrainian Voice, which included an 18-member kids’ choir and a 20-member adult choir singing traditional Ukrainian carols known as Koliadky, at 4.30pm.
A group of twelve dancers known as “Radist,” which translates to “joy,” also gave a performance, showcasing a traditional Ukrainian dance.
Every performer wore a traditional holiday outfit and held an octagonal Christmas star, a common holiday decoration from Ukraine.
Liverpool brought Ukrainian culture right into the heart of the city when it hosted Eurovision earlier this year on behalf of Ukraine. Liverpool and Ukraine have a unique relationship that dates back decades. Liverpool ONE is carrying on this legacy. Liverpool and Odessa have been twinned since 1957.
The Liverpool ONE event builds on the Eurovision theme of 2023, “United by Music.” It was organised in cooperation with the Liverpool branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), which provides support to community members throughout the United Kingdom, many of whom came as refugees last year.
Liudmyla Sergiienko was one of them; she travelled to Liverpool with her nine-year-old son the previous year, leaving her parents and husband behind in order to find a safe haven for him.
Liudmyla, who volunteered with the AUGB Liverpool branch, which strives to make Ukrainians feel at home by providing support and organising cultural events, now resides in Liverpool with sponsors along with her son.
“Kolyada is what Ukraine is all about; celebrating the country’s language, culture and traditions. The enchanting Christmas carols, Koliadky, signify Christmas in Ukraine – boys and girls prepare carols and verses, taking them from house to house and sharing Christmas joy in exchange for sweet gifts and tips.
“Koliadky are part of the rich Slavic tradition of hospitality, in which the master of the house, the Hospodar, is expected to warmly welcome carollers with bread and salt presented on a decorative rushnyk, a traditional cloth; and in exchange for his generous hospitality, the singers warm his home with glad tidings in song.
“We hope the people of Liverpool enjoyed our performance, as a thank you from us for welcoming us into their city.”
Residents of the city joined in the joyous mood, taking in the inspiring performances by Liverpool’s Ukrainian community and commemorating their unity as Christmas draws near.
Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director at Liverpool ONE, said:
“Back in May, the whole city was united by music as we hosted Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine. What better time to revive that incredible spirit of togetherness than Christmas?
“We’re proud to continue this legacy through our work with the Liverpool branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, and hope this event and its celebration of Ukrainian culture has continued to help make Ukrainians in the city feel at home.”