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Ukrainian wedding - Ukrainian wedding traditions

Ukrainian wedding is a beautiful symbolic rite in the national culture, and traditions and customs are so diverse that the festivities can last a whole week.

Depending on the region, the duration of the wedding festivities differed. For example, in the Poltava region, celebrations continued a whole week (“from Wednesday to Wednesday, you can rest on the bench”), in the Hutsul region — just five days.

The youth now seeks to arrange their wedding in accordance with folk traditions, ancient customs and for good reason. Wedding ceremonies had an important role in creating a strong Ukrainian family, with love, respect, happiness and prosperity.

"Holy mother, Pokrovonko, cover my head, even with a rag, so not to stay unmarried," sounded in Slobozhanshchina. The voices of all Ukrainian girls who were brides, in an autumn merged into the choir, because from October 14 to November 14, were celebrated weddings everywhere.

Ancestors left a rich heritage and young people tend not to lose it, but to pass it on to next generations.

The traditional wedding of the Ukrainians conditionally could be divided into three cycles: cycle number 1 — Pre-wedding, cycle number 2 — Wedding and cycle number 3 — Post-wedding, final.
The first cycle included those rites that are associated with the consent of the young and their families before marriage: matchmaking, visit bride home and engagement.

The post-wedding cycle strengthened the bond between the families of the young and made future life easier for a girl in a new home. The groom brought rolls and drinks, invited friends and guests. And this last wedding ceremony was also accompanied by songs and dances. Read article about Eternal Love Luigi Peduto and Mokryna Yurzuk

Towel “Rushnik” for ukrainian wedding

The towel rushnik at the wedding was more than just the decoration that adorns the walls and some persons. For each important guest, the bride embroidered own towel, so there were a lot.

Even the poorest girl tried to make as many towels as possible.

The patterns for the towels were made up by the girls themselves, others did not copy them.

"Ой ластівка купалася, край бережка сушилася. 
Край бережка сушилася, дівка Маруся журилася. 
Ой ще рушників не подбала, а вже Іванка сподобала. 
Ой ще рушників не зробила, а вже Іванка полюбила."

In general, the girl had to sew about 20 towels. Such quantity of towels must have even the poorest family if possible girls were prepared much more.

Korovai — Wedding Bread

Making bread for the wedding was accompanied by special rituals and was one of the important parts of the wedding ceremony. The whole process — from kneading dough to baking bread — was accompanied by songs.

Ой Галина мати та по вулиці ходить, та сусідів своїх просить: 
– Ой ви, сусідоньки, мої голубоньки, та ходіть же ви до мене та до мого дитяти, хорошенько коровай бгати.

Many rules related to the baking process: it was required only for the first marriage, widows, and widowers didn't need to bake bread.

The branch from a tree (Giltse) for the wedding

Just before the wedding, at the bachelorette party girlfriends of the bride started to make an important wedding attribute that symbolized youth and beauty — a branch.

It’s called a small young tree, or, more precisely, a large branch. More often, it had been spruce or a pine tree in winter, in summer chose a cherry, an apple tree, a pear tree for the wedding twig.

Each shoot of the branch was decorated with flowers, oats, viburnum, rowan, colored ribbons, sometimes it was put in bread or pie. In other regions, mostly on the south, the branch was coated with dough and baked in the oven and then decorated.

Throughout the wedding, a branch that symbolized beauty stood on the table. After the wedding, that branch was broken, given to friends, thrown into the attic or on the roof of the house.

At the same time, bridesmaids with a wedding branch were made wedding wreaths.A long time ago, a wreath for the bride was made from wax, adding feathers, later from paraffin, fabric, paper. Until now, in certain areas of Western Ukraine, where the periwinkle rite is very common, women make wreaths for young periwinkle:

"Несем зілля-барвіночок на Оксанин віночок, 
Та й на її головоньку на суботу до шлюбоньку."

Ukrainian wedding songs

There are more than 1500 Ukrainian wedding songs. It can be divided into several thematic groups:

Songs that explain the actions of the wedding drama (the regret of parents about separation from their daughter, the sadness of the bride because of the separation with relatives, home, girlhood)

Поспішила моя мати заручини пити, Ось побачиш, моя мати, Як без мене жити.

Songs that are asking God and the saints to give the young family a good fate:

Многая літа, Многая літа, Многая літа, многая. Сотвори, Господи, Многая, многая літа.

Glorification songs that glorify the young family and their relatives:

Темного лугу калина, Чесного роду дитина, З чесного двору вийшла, 
Та в чесний й увійшла. Нічого дивувати — Така в неї була й мати.

We wish you a very tasty and exciting journey to Ukraine!

Author: Anna Mikhailovskaya - Travel blogger, introvert.
Anna has an international IATA certificate, 2 Scottish cats 
and 10 years of travel experience.

Date Published: 2020-01-03
Date Modified: 2021-09-10

- Poetry of the Ukrainian wedding: S. Nastenko; editors: S.Chachko, V. Kucherev, N.Linkievich; 
- Vasily Skuratovsky "Didukh: Holidays of the Ukrainian people" - Kiev: Education, 1995

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