Lately, Ukraine has been celebrating Christmas twice. On January 6, Christians of the Eastern Rite celebrate Christmas Eve; the day after that, naturally, they observe Christmas.
This tradition is a custom for all Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, most of Ukrainian Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia and Georgia, ancient monasteries on Mount Athos, as well as Christians of the Eastern Rite, Greek Catholics, Armenian Apostolic Church, some protestant groups and the Coptic Church.
Christmas Eve is the final day of the Christmas Lent.
No one is allowed to eat anything or even take a seat by the dinner table until the first evening star. When it rises, the entire family gathers by the table for holiday dinner. Often, peopel leave an extra epmty plate on a table - in memory of the late family members.