The Comox Valley Ukrainian community hosted a Christmas concert and dinner on Sunday, Jan. 8.
Approximately 200 people attended the event, which was organized by those who have made the Comox Valley their new home in the past year.
For many in attendance, it was the first Christmas away from their homeland, through little choice of their own.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on, the event at Comox Presbyterian Church was not only a chance to celebrate the most important holiday of the year for Ukrainians, but also an opportunity for the newcomers to thank the Comox Valley for its generosity and welcoming attitude.
The formal portion of the event featured a brief slide show, explaining the struggles in Ukraine since the early 20th century, followed by poetry, singing and a brilliant piano recital.
Vlad Yalovenchyk, one of the MCs for the event, expressed gratitude on behalf of all the newcomers.
“You people have made our lives here possible, and without you, we would not be able to have this Christmas,” he said. “In this time of turmoil in our homeland, we came to Canada as strangers to you, but you became our family, and made it possible for us to have this joy. Without this community, our lives would not be the same at all. We are so thankful.”
At the conclusion of the concert, a traditional Ukrainian meal was served, with all the usual fare, including traditional corovay.