Many members of Holy Ghost parish are of Rus’ ethnic background, and they bring to our parish community Rusyn (Russian, Slavic, Ukrainian) customs and traditions that accompany church feast days. One of these—and one that can be the most fun to attend—is “Yolka,” or the Christmas play that typically falls near the feast of St. Nicholas.
“Yolka” means “fir tree,” and although a decorative tree generally adorns the stage area for the event, the play itself may consist of any combination of spiritual songs and carols, dramatized Biblical scenes, theatrical presentations, and poetry recitations appropriate to the season. As a longtime pastor, I have been involved in dozens of “Yolka,” and each year I witness the struggle (and sometimes angst!) that church school teachers and their students experience as they try to bring fresh ideas to the event.
That’s why I want to especially congratulate our church school teachers, Debbie Rappaport and Carol Kaputa, with their assistants, Melanie and Larissa Rappaport, and all the students who performed “Yolka” this year at Holy Ghost Church. Their pure joy in song and recitation made it a pure joy for us to watch. (And, thanks to Patrick Quill for taking the photos and sharing the video.)
Click here to re-live the fun of “Yolka”!