Was ‘jumping grandpa’ an old custom?

From our April 2012 issue

By Victoria (Turesky) D’Ambroise – Burnaby, B.C.

When I was young, before leaving Saskatchewan, many Ukrainian farmers lived in the Sturgis area.

We celebrated the English Christmas on Dec. 25 and then the Ukrainian Christmas Jan. 7. The Ukrainian New Year is on Jan. 14.

A peculiar rite on New Year’s Day was a bonfire with the adults and older boys ‘jumping grandpa’. I don’t know the tradition or the meaning of this ‘game’.

I now live in Vancouver and one of our favourite walks is along the ocean.

One time I spotted people gathered around a bonfire with a few men and boys jumping over the fire. The women just watched. These people were not Ukrainian. They seemed more Asian.

I felt that somehow they had the same game of ‘jumping grandpa’. Would anyone be familiar with this old custom and tell us about it?