Fortnite, chocolate among treats kids give up for Lent
For students at the province's only Ukrainian bilingual school, Easter is a big deal - bigger than most other holidays and certainly more involved, with preparations starting forty days prior.
Cultural traditions are of upmost importance for staff and students at Bishop Filevich in Saskatoon.
"We're very fortunate to have the bilingual program here with the Byzantine faith that's practiced. We try to focus on that because we know that the commercial aspects are important for everybody, each to their own, but we try to focus on that religious aspect," Grade 8 teacher Stacia Horbay Ugalde tells CTV News.
Grade 2 student Eli Olenick's class is preparing Easter songs about the items that go into an Easter basket. Those baskets will be blessed before eating this weekend. The song talks about paska and babka, Easter bread, cheese, butter and sausage.
Most Ukrainians typically fast in some way for the 40-day Lenten season and that's the case for students who are encouraged to give something up for Lent, which symbolizes the sacrifice that Jesus made in dying on the Cross.
Many kids abstain from snacks like chocolate while some restrict their popular activities, Ugalde said.
"A big thing for kids especially around this age is that Fortnite or video games, computer, tablet time is a big thing that parents do encourage their children to give up."
Each class at Bishop Filevich makes traditional Easter bread or paska, the tops adorned with special designs that represent Easter themes. Parents and grandparents come out to help bake the bread once the students have created their designs.
The 170 students also get a crack at designing Ukrainian Easter Eggs or Pysanky. Almost all grades use raw eggs. They heat up beeswax with a candle and apply it to the eggs using carefully thought out religious or cultural designs. The process is repeated and eggs are dipped into various dyes. To complete the egg, the wax is melted off and the egg shined up.
About half of the students at the school are new Canadians while the other half are Canadian-born.