New Year traditions in Ukraine
New Year is a holiday of family unity and joy. This holiday combines both religious and pagan rites, but is equally celebrated by everybody in Ukraine. Most of the holiday traditions (like decorating a fir-tree) are shared with other nations. But the others are typically Ukrainian and we would like to tell you about them.
Father Frost and his niece
Despite his eastern origin Father Frost is considered to be a typically Slavic hero. His usual garment is a long blue or white coat, felt boots, mittens and a hat. He always has his crosier with him to make wonders. His niece Snow-maiden is not a necessary heroine, but is often present as well. Her clothes are similar to her grandfather’s, and long braids with ribbons give her a true feminine look. Her usual task is to entertain the children and to involve them in different contests to get the presents.
Every housewife tries to impress her guests with a number of the dishes presented on the festive table and their decorations. Many families in Ukraine have Russian, Bulgarian, Polish and Belorussian roots. Therefore, every cook has some special recipes assimilated by the ancestors from different cultures. No need to say that they are various and are deliciously made. So, every family member can find something to his taste: fish, meat, vegetables and poultry dishes are always present on New Year. Ukrainian women love to cook and make it with mastery.
During the evening family members put the presents under the New Year tree and try to remain unnoticed to keep the magic of the moment. Kids become a real watch-of-the-fir-tree trying to catch Father Frost. Imagine their amazement when they miss this moment (and they usually do)!
The evening usually begins with the whole family gathering together at the festive table. It is a time to try the food prepared by the hostess. Meanwhile, all the present chat, recall funny moments of the year, sing songs and watch concerts on TV. For sure, the most exciting time of the New Year is midnight. When the clock strikes 12 times Ukrainian girls drink champagne and make wishes. After this moment unwrapping gifts is already allowed. Midnight is a mysterious time when every Ukrainian lady sets goals for future. Who knows, maybe she wished to get married this year? ;)