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UCI to present Malanka at Belfield

Dan and Dorothy Farrel of Bismarck look forward to celebrating the Ukrainian culture during the 2012 Malanka.

The Ukrainian Cultural Institute will host the Malanka celebration on Sunday, Jan. 15. The festivities begin at noon in the Belfield Memorial Hall, 107 Second Ave. NE.

As the 2011 Malanka couple, the Farrels will greet the guests.

"We're the symbol of Malanka," Dan Farrel said. "Malanka is a good time together as it's to celebrate the end of Christmas season and begin the transition into Lent."

Malanka originated from St. Melania whose feast day is Friday. This date also is the eve of the New Year, according to the Julian calendar.

Ukrainians throughout the migration to America designated their own way of celebrating the eve of St. Melania. In North Dakota, the role of celebrating the eve developed in stages. It began with a night of merriment with music and dancing, according to a press release.

Of Irish descent, Dan Farrel was introduced to the Ukrainian history when he started dating his wife 38 years ago.

"Her mother helped me tremendously to understand Ukrainian food and ethnicities," Farrel said.

Children extend wishes for a successful year and offer the guests stems of wheat tied with bright ribbon, he said.

"There is toasting with champaign and some wonderful raffles," Dan Farrel added.

The afternoon also includes silent auctions and live auctions. The selection of the 2012 Malanka couple is held by nomination and election.

The Ukrainian menu buffet is the main focus of Malanka. The buffet is considered a resurrection of dishes considered peasant food and transformed into a gourmet category, according to a press release.

This year's menu includes cheese buttons, sausage, holubtsi, studenetz, nalysnyky, salads and desserts. The tickets for an adult buffet are $12 and children 12 and younger are $6. The public is welcome to attend.

UCI Office Manager Cindy Klein will be attending Malanka for the first time.

"My mother's family came from Kiev, Ukraine and settled by Max," Klein said. "I'm really looking forward to Malanka because of my own Ukrainian heritage, and I hope to gain more knowledge about the Ukrainian culture."