National Anthem of Ukraine - in English

Ukrainian National Anthem has been translated into English!


Happy (Julian Calendar) New Year!

Old New Year, or New Year by Julian calendar, is widely celebrating on January 14 in some Eastern European countries, including Ukraine.
Speaking about western Ukraine, where I am originally from (I live in Canada now), Julian Calendar New Year is very common festivity to this part of the country. Although January 14 is not an official day off, in western Ukraine they have services in churches on that day, and at night from January 13 to January 14 western Ukrainians are celebrating something like winter festivals. The festivals called Malankas (Malanka – singular). The most famous Malankas places in whole western Ukraine are: in the town of Horoshova, Ternopil's'ka oblast; in the town of Vashkivtsi, Chernivets'ka oblast (check for the places on Google Maps). 
Besides Malanka festivals, there is another very common tradition for celebrating Julian New Year in Ukraine. Earlier in the morning of January 14, boys are coming from door to door, sowing seeds and grains in the hallways – for good luck and good year for those who lives in this house.
And here is traditional carol for Ukrainian Old Style New Year (on the video below).
Happy (Julian Calendar) New Year everyone!


How to Say “Merry Christmas” in Ukraine and What is it Kutia

Ukrainian Christmas Signature Dish Kutia
Kutia (on the picture above) is a signature dish of Ukrainian Christmas. Being served as a very first entry at 12-dishes Christmas Eve dinner, which is January 6 (Ukrainian Christmas is January 7).
Kutia is a sweet dish, made out of boiled wheat grains (wheatberries), poppy seeds, honey or sugar and walnuts or pecans. Kutia can be also used for dessert, in the end of Christmas dinner.
The secrets of good kutia are: to process the poppy seeds very fine, almost to the white colour; do not oversweet the dish.
Merry Ukrainian Christmas! In western Ukraine, where I am originally from, “Merry Christmas” sounds as “Khrystos sia Rozhdae” which is literally mean, “Christ is Born!”
Right answer for this greeting is “Slavimo Jogo!” which means “Glorify Him!”
As additional greeting, western Ukrainians use “Solodkoi Kuti!” which means “Have a sweet Kutia!” Figurally speaking - “Have a great celebration/holiday!”

Christmas Greeting to You From Ukrainian-American Artist

Merry Christmas Ukrainian Colors by Daria Iwasko
This amazing beaded Christmas ornament made in colours of Ukrainian and European Union flags. Upper part of the ornament, with little yellow stars on it, is symbolizing the flag of Europe. Middle part, which is Ukrainian flag, has a Tryzub on it. Tryzub is Ukrainian coats of arm.
The author of this wonderful ornament is my good friend Daria Iwasko. Daria is Ukrainian-American artist and she is originally from Lviv, the biggest city on the West of Ukraine.
Earlier, I have introduced you to some Daria's beaded arts, like Easter Eggs and Christmas-themed decorations.
This blue&yellow ornament is the latest Daria's creation. The artist dedicated it to millions Ukrainians which are wishing for Ukraine to be together with European Union.


Lviv is in the Top 12 Winning Winter Destinations - National Geographic Travel

Andrew Evans, the Digital Nomad from National Geographic Travel, just published his top 12 Winning Winter Destinations. Wow, it is sooo nice to see in this list the city of Lviv, the jewel of western Ukraine!
Andrew has described why this travel destination – Lviv – is so beautiful in the winter and why it is worth to go there: “When it’s snowing, the architecturally-impressive city of Lviv looks like a fairy tale, with turrets and spires, palaces and theaters, and a splendid mass of restaurants and cafés. Oft-compared to Prague and Krakow, Lviv is far more unassuming and offers visitors a rich taste of Ukrainian culture and folklore.”
Here is the full article. Thank you so much Andrew!
On the picture - winter in Lviv, West Ukraine:
Winter in Lviv, western Ukraine

Welcome to a Ukrainian Wedding!

This is my precious Goddaugter Katya from Ukraine. The picture was taken in 2007, at my wedding:
Highbush Cranberry or Kalyna is one of Ukrainian symbols
Here is Katya is singing at my wedding. This traditional Ukrainian song was a special gift from Katya to me, her Godmother:

And here is Katya is singing again – at the video from her wedding, in 2013. She is singing only on beginning of the video; rest of the video was a cameraman’s job. Good job, I must say! The guys from the local video studio of Ternopil, West Ukraine (where, actually, was the wedding) did really great on it – they composed this short clip to show to all the guests at the same day, in the end of the wedding. So, please enjoy watching; that’s how modern Ukrainian wedding looks like nowadays:

Now, I am happy to tell you more details about this wonderful wedding, with pictures my husband and I took.
Here is the happy bride:
Ukrainian Bride
Happy groom and bride:
Ukrainian Newlyweds
Katya’s bridal bouquet – pink peonies and white roses:
Bridal bouquet, pink peonies and white roses, Ukraine
Here is the Mom of the bride. Honestly, her dress was the best mother-of-the-bride dress I have ever seen in my life:
Best Mother of the Bride Dress Ever, in Ternopil, Western Ukraine
The dress was made by local tailor and also design of the dress is created by her – the tailor is very talented lady, as you can see from her work.  
Here are bride and groom being crowned – at the marriage ceremony in Ukrainian Orthodox Church:
Marriage Ceremony in Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Ternopil, West Ukraine
And here… here… I have no words, only emotions J Ukrainian wedding table! Something that you can see (and enjoy eating, of course) only at Ukrainian wedding! And these are just appetizers – entries to come!
Appetizers at Ukrainian wedding table
Speaking of entries, my husband’s and mine favourite one at Katya’s wedding was a beef liver sautéed with pears. Something very different that we never tried before and… amazingly delicious! As well as all of those sweets, desserts and fruits, beautifully served:
Desserts and fruits table at West Ukrainian wedding
Ukrainian custom says that a Godmother has to bake a korovay (special wedding bread, a sweet one) to her Goddaughter’s wedding, or at least to buy the wedding bread for the Goddaughter. Well, I wanted to, but the Godfather of the bride has decided to order the korovay to our Goddaughter, so I came up with the wedding cake. Actually, this is very modern tradition at a Ukrainian wedding – to have both, korovay and a wedding cake. I had no idea what design of the korovay is going to be, but I stuck to my favourite style in cake design – a traditional Ukrainian style, with traditional Ukrainian flowers, which are poppies, cornflowers and chamomiles, and with colours of Ukrainian flag, which are yellow and blue, and, of course, for the cake topping I picked up newlyweds in traditional Ukrainian clothes. Nobody knew how the cake I have ordered will look like, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out, already at the wedding, that design of the Godfather’s wedding bread is perfect match with the cake! The same poppies, cornflowers and chamomiles!
So, here are both, the wedding bread (on the left) and the wedding cake (on the right) from Katya’s Godparents:
Korovay Ceremonial Bread and Wedding Cake in Ukrainian Style, Ternopil, West Ukraine
Another great surprise at my Goddaughter’s wedding was the musicians – the Veseli Halychany band from Ternopil. The same musicians that played at Ron’s and my wedding!
The Veseli Halychany Musicians at the wedding in Ukraine
It was so nice to find it that idea to have these musicians at her wedding came up to Katya when she was attending our wedding. Actually, it was Katya’s dream to have Veseli Halychany at her wedding. Why dream, it is because the Veseli Halychany band are not just musicians – they all professional musicians, one of the best folk band of the western Ukraine, so to get them to the wedding is not that simple, they are quite busy, touring in Ukraine and abroad. Oh, and interesting fact! Back then, in 2007, when Ron and I got married, Katya has not even met her groom yet J, but! She already knew which musicians will play at her wedding – well, the dream came true!
So, here they are, the Veseli Halychany musicians, entertaining guests at my Goddaughter’s wedding:

And here the musicians are playing at the ceremony of sharing the wedding bread. Normally this ceremony – sharing of the wedding bread – is being performed at the end of Ukrainian wedding. First two Starostas (Matchmakers) have to dance with korovays (forgot to mention that typical Ukrainian wedding nowadays has to have two korovays wedding breads – one from the groom’s side, one from the bride’s side):

Then, after the dance, the Starostas are sharing wedding breads. Top of the breads come to bride and groom, middle part, sliced – to all the guests at the wedding, and finally, bottoms of the breads traditionally belong to musicians. Here is more about Ukrainian wedding bread korovay traditions, meanwhile – enjoy the video of the korovays sharing at my Goddaughter’s wedding:

Yes, my Goddaughter’s wedding it was a day to remember! So happy for newlyweds! Also, I hope, you got an idea from this story how Ukrainian weddings look like and feel like. So if you are travelling in western part of Ukraine and you are happened to be invited to a wedding, go for it! You can experience of these feelings and emotions yourself, and it might be a highlight of your trip.

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