News & Events
Traditions and customs of Ukrainians
- Posted by: Redaktor
- Category: News
The whole life of Ukrainians if full of interesting customs, which have been around for centuries. Ukrainian young people take over these traditions with great pleasure. At the same time, in all the customs there is an interweaving of pagan and Christian beliefs.
Guests of the country often have a unique opportunity to plunge into the world of the Ukrainian culture, participate in the celebration of Christmas, Easter or St. John the Baptist, admire the mysterious rite of the wedding, listen to carols and gaivki, taste the delicious ritual dishes, such as kutia, Easter cake, and even join the exciting process of painting Easter eggs.
During the Christmas holidays there is a popular tradition of caroling in Ukraine, when children go from house to house singing Christmas songs and wishing peace and prosperity to the owners, “sowing” the floor with grains of wheat or barley, which brings well-being and happiness into the house. In gratitude, the hosts give children sweets and coins, which bring good luck for the whole year. On Christmas Eve (Holy Night) in the run up to Christmas there is a tradition of having 12 meatless dishes on the table – the number of the apostles. There is traditionally kutia, uzvar, freshly baked bread dumplings, in which the mistress hide coins. Those who find a coin will have good luck in the new year. At the table people sing Christmas songs, remember all the good that was in the past year, and wish each other happiness and good health.
Easter is the main orthodox holiday. On this day the souls of the religious people are overfilled with bright joy. In Easter night people do not sleep, in the evening everyone goes to church to the all-night service. They have beautiful baskets with a variety of dishes for the consecration, and when they return, they begin to break the fast. Whatever dishes there are on the table, it is necessary to start the dinner with the Easter cake. On this day, every Orthodox Christian welcomes everyone with the words “Christ is risen!” and the answer is: “Truly He is risen!”.
St. John the Baptist
Ancient Slavic St. John the Baptist holiday in honor of the Sun is celebrated in the day of the summer solstice. It has a number of rituals related to water, fire and herbs. On this day daredevils jump over the fire, but at midnight they are looking for fern flowers to get the ability to see the future and to find big wealth. Girls are making wreaths. And unmarried girls leave their wreaths on the water: if the wreath sinks, it means that the girl won’t marry the man she is in love with. And the happiest girl is the one, whose wreath will remain on the water for the longest period of time
Family plays a very important part for Ukrainians, that is why wedding traditions are maintained very carefully. Wedding ceremonies begin with the matchmaking ceremony: the groom sends elderly people to ask for the bride’s hand. If she agrees, the woman brings an embroidered towel. A few days before the wedding ritual the traditional bread is baked – it is called “karavay”. On the wedding day the groom goes to the bride, where in the yard he needs to pay ransom for her. After the church wedding ceremony, they go to the house of the groom for celebration. Celebrations, games and songs often continue up to the next day.