01
Aug-2017

Traditional Ukrainian Holidays You Have to See in Summer

Do you know any of traditional Ukrainian holidays? We’ve picked ones taking place in summer to give you some hints. Every holiday is worth seeing with your own eyes and can give you a unique cultural experience. Read about them and make your summer holiday trip planning.

IVANA KUPALA

When: at night from 6th to 7th of July

The most mysterious one of the traditional Ukrainian holidays falls at night from 6th to 7th of July. A holiday combines religious celebrations with the heathen ancient traditions. Traditionally young girls make wreaths and let them go by the river. The way it goes tells about the future destiny of the girl – whether she gets married soon or not. On the celebration, a big fire is a must. People jump over it, alone or in couples. This ritual serves as a sort of purification ceremony.

There is also a famous legend about the fern flower. According to it, the flower appears just on the night of Kupala and blooms only for an instant. The flower is hard to get due to evil forces protection. If one finds it, he or she will be able to understand the language of any creature and see the hidden treasures.

Top cultural activities:

  • jump over the fire;
  • make a wreath from flowers (female);
  • participate in the festival with songs and dances;
  • try to find fern flower.

Additional activities:

 

Vilkha

When: 12th of July

On July, 12th you can join a unique celebration event “Vilkha” (Alder tree), which is preserved only in some villages of Pokuttia area in the West of Ukraine. This custom dates back to the time of Kievan Rus when the Mongol-Tatars tribes attacked Pokuttia. Local people, fleeing from the nomads, were hiding in marshy places, where many alders grew. And when the Tatars left, grateful people decorated the alder to honor the tree as a savior of their lives. Since then, the alder tree has become a symbol of salvation in Pokuttia.

Top cultural activities:

  • practice some local handmade crafts;
  • join alder tree decoration ceremony;
  • watch folklore performances.

Additional activities:

 

spasa

When: 19th of August

A big holiday in the cycle of Orthodox traditional Ukrainian holidays called Spas (Spasa). People often name it an Apple Spas which is related to the main attribute of the holiday – apples. However, not only apples play the important role in the celebration. Grapes, peaches, honey, various sorts of vegetables, wheat and poppy are often included to the traditional basket too. On this day, people go to the churches to sanctify this gifts of nature. Traditionally, it’s important to keep sanctified honey and poppy during all the year. Poppy considered being a protection against evil forces while honey becomes healing.

According to the legend, on this day summer meets with autumn so the autumn officially starts. The weather on Spasa serves as the prediction tool – depending on whether it’s hot or cold, sunny or rainy, people build their expectation about the upcoming seasons.

Top cultural activities:

  • eat an apple or apple based dishes;
  • giveaway some sanctified fruits to poor people;
  • enjoy churches’ or cathedrals’ views and atmosphere.

Additional activities:

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY

When: 24th of August

As for every country, Independence Day is a special holiday for Ukraine. Through all the centuries of their history Ukrainians fought hard for their strive to be independent. However, only in 1991, it happened. That’s why every year on 24th of August all Ukrainians come together to wish a «happy birthday» to their country and remind all the world how they are proud to be Ukrainians and be independent. On this day all the cities are painted blue and yellow, people wear traditional clothes and a lot of events and concerts are happening. Don’t miss a chance to feel this spirit.

Top cultural activities:

  • go to central street/square in the morning to see the parade;
  • get a Ukrainian flag;
  • learn how to sing the national anthem;
  • join free music concert in the evening.

Additional activities:

 

 

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