What are some Ukrainian traditions and why should one know them before dating a Ukrainian lady?
Ukrainian traditions have been developing for ages, with some of them dating back to pagan times of Kievan Rus. People in Ukraine are very attached to their customs and rituals, and knowing those may be important if you want to date a local woman. If you do start building relationships with her, however, you would need to learn Ukrainian traditions anyways since she will be very serious about them. Knowing the local rituals will help you set up contacts with her family as well, which may be a decisive factor for her to agree to date or even marry you. Everything you need to learn about the customs Ukrainian people have is covered in our article - check it out right away!
What Is a Ukrainian wedding tradition?
What probably interests you most is, of course, a wedding and everything around it. A traditional Ukrainian wedding is followed by multiple small rituals, but those are either completely forgotten, or not as widespread as in the past. For instance, if you were curious about what to wear to a Ukrainian wedding, you can relax and wear a suit since no one is going to force you to wear a national costume. Though this makes a wedding ceremony slightly less colorful, wearing usual clothes is undoubtedly much more practical (and it will save you a notable sum otherwise spent on a tailor's services). However, do not think that a modern wedding is boring - not at all! Here's a list of most widespread Ukrainian wedding rituals, which are still around and which you would probably encounter:
- Ransoming a bride. In modern weddings, this is rather a symbolical action, but a groom still must “buyout” a bride from her parents. The sum that a groom used to pay was really necessary in the past, when a daughter left her parents' house to live with her new husband. The thing here is that girls in rural areas used to do lots of hard work back in the days, which made losing a pair of hands a heavy blow for the parents.
- Blessing from parents and a priest. One more symbolical action, which, however, has never had any practical meaning. Weddings have always been planned carefully, so parents agreed on all conditions long before the official ceremony took place. The tradition presupposes getting a blessing from parents and then moving to a church, where a local priest would bless the couple as well and officially record the creation of a new family.
- Celebratory meal with the whole family. When the official part is over, the time comes for celebration with all the relatives and friends. In the countryside, this may include the whole village since everyone there is as close as family members. The owners of the house where the banquet is held should greet the couple with bread and salt, which symbolize wealth and protect against evil spirits.
Ukrainian customs and traditions
Except for weddings, the traditional Ukrainian calendar is full of other interesting events. The country's culture represents a unique mix of ancient pagan, Orthodox Christian, and more recent Soviet traditions, which makes local festivals truly amazing. Although the number of official holidays is quite modest (12 per year), traditional celebrations are not necessarily among them, yet the former represent much more interest.
Most important Ukrainian celebrations include:
- Maslenitsa, or a Pancake day. There is no specified date when Maslenitsa should be celebrated since the festival takes a whole week before Great Lent. This is the time when people gather to burn down an idol of winter, symbolizing the rise of new life from ashes and the arrival of spring. And, of course, everyone is having pancakes, which symbolize the sun.
- The Night of Ivana Kupala. The night on July 7th is the time to put on those costumes national traditions stipulate, and jump over fire, as the summer solstice is coming to fill the earth with magic. This is the time when fern is blooming deep in woods, and lucky will be the one who finds it. But never look back when you hear someone calling your name in the forest, as your soul will be lost there forever.
- Orthodox Christmas Eve. Kolyadnyky are flooding onto the streets of a town to sing songs of prosperity and spread the word of Jesus to everyone. Dressed in fur coats and animals' masks, they are walking with their tiny bags from door to door, singing kolyadky to neighbors and receiving treats in return. It is believed that kolyadnyky bring happiness to the house which they visit, so the more of them come, the better for you.
- Christianization of Kievan Rus day. January 19th is the coldest day in a whole year, which, however, did not seem to bother Vladimir the Great, who made all citizens of ancient Kyiv pe into the Dnipro River on this day. Since then, Christianity has become an official religion of Kievan Rus, which started the tradition of making a cross-formed hole in the ice and jumping into it.
- Orthodox Easter. The day of Jesus' rise is, perhaps, the most important day in Orthodox Christianity. There is no fixed date for Ukrainian Easter, but it is always Sunday somewhat around the end of March - beginning of May. Traditional elements of Easter in Ukraine are painted eggs, or pysanky, which symbolize the beginning of a new life. These Easter eggs, along with a traditional cake called kulich, should be brought to a church for a sanctifying ritual.
What is traditional Ukrainian food?
If you are wondering “What is Ukrainian food like?”, there is no need to worry since it will fit any diet with ease. The locals' ration includes healthy amounts of vegetables and soups, maintaining the nation in good shape. Traditional Ukrainian cuisine also includes meat and fish daily to help your body build muscles and generate heat so much-needed during local winters.
Some traditional Ukrainian foods include:
- Varenyky (also galushky or pierogi)
- Easter Eggs, or pysanky.
As mentioned before, a traditional Ukrainian wedding is a rather complex procedure, with lots of rituals and symbols around it. Modern girls, however, pay less attention to customs and more to the voice of their hearts, so do not hesitate to try and search for a Ukrainian girlfriend!