Bumping Into Celebrity in Ukraine

Traveling to Carpathian Mountains, western Ukraine, has many pleasant surprises, like, bumping into Ukrainian celebrity just accidentally, on a street of a picturesque city of Verkhovyna. The celebrity was a very popular Ukrainian musician and singer Oleh Skrypka. We just walked on a street, as I said, and all of sudden I have noticed a horse and buggy with the local Hutsuls band from Verkhovyna, and Oleg Skrypka among them, and television crew around, filming a scene. 
Later I found out they were filming a folkloric show for Ukrainian TV. But in that moment I just grabbed my camera and started taking a video of whole process. I didn't get very much, because they are gone very quickly, but, anyway, I was very happy - I got a celebrity on my video! Here it is:

While I was shooting a video, my husband was taking pictures, so we got also few photographs of Oleh Skrypka and his filming crew:
Oleh Skrypka in Verkhovyna, Ukraine

Oleh Skrypka, Ukrainian Television
Another pleasant surprise was waiting for us in Lviv, at the Etnovyr International Folklore Festival. During one of the concert of the Festival, we accidentally met two musicians from Burdon band. My husband was so thrilled, because Burdon is his favourite Ukrainian band! They play ethno music in modern style and they are very well-known not only in Ukraine, but in Europe and Canada.
So we started talking with the guys - it was Rost Tatomyr, the leader of the band, and Ivan Ohar, the musician. We had a very nice conversation and, of course, we have asked them for autographs:
Burdon band, Lviv, Ukraine

Burdon Band, Ukraine
And my hubby was sooo happy that now he has a picture with musicians of his favourite Burdon. It made his day back then, definitely:
With Burdon Band, Ukraine

Singing at the Party in Western Ukraine

Singing at the parties, like weddings, family dinners, meeting friends is very typical for Ukrainians. They love to do it, they enjoy to do it and it is really create nice and warm atmosphere at the dinner table!
This video we took in one of our family trips to western Ukraine. We are singing Ukrainian folk song Shabelyna (Sabre) with my Goddaughter and her parents - my good friends. Sorry, we didn't capture first two verses of the song and started already from the third one, but we enjoyed it, anyway. Hope you will enjoy listening to us, too :)

Fire Show at the Wedding in Ukraine

I would like to share with you few videos of an amazing fire show at the wedding in Ternopil, western Ukraine, which our family have attended in summer 2014. The performance was presented by local fire show theatre Nikalex. Enjoy!

Spring in western Ukraine

Spring on the West of Ukraine
Spring on the West of Ukraine, especially in its rural part - it is, first of all, a potato planting time! A big time! Potato it is one of the main staples of Ukrainian cuisine; it is vital for almost every Ukrainian to have a little (or a big, depend on a size of family) plot of potatoes and other vegetables and take care of it from the planting to the harvest - in case, if something is wrong with world's or local economy, you will always have your basement full of food supplies.
So, starting in the middle of April - in beginning of May, Ukrainians everywhere, doesn't matter, on the West or on the East, spending weekends in the countryside, planting vegetable gardens. Known photographer Oleg Marchak captured those potato planting moments and people's gardens just perfectly, take a look at this beautiful South of Ternopil' area in spring!

Planting potatoes on the West of Ukraine

Vegetable gardens planting, western Ukraine

Spring in western Ukraine
Spring on the West of Ukraine - it is also lots of lilac in bloom. This is the city of Chortkiv on the South of Ternopil, just drowning in those blooming lilac bushes. Picture taken by Oleg Marchak:
Lilac blooming, Chortkiv, western Ukraine
Spring on the West of Ukraine - it is also a gorgeous chestnuts blossom, which comes after lilac - like this one, downtown of Ternopil, captured by another known local photographer Mykola Wasylechko:
Sahaydachnogo Street in Ternopil, West Ukraine
Spring on the West of Ukraine, especially after Easter, when an Orthodox and Greek-Catholic lent is finished (there are big respect for belief on Ukrainian West) - it is wedding time, a time to start a new life! On the picture - just married newlyweds greeted by family and friends. Picture taken by the Justice of the Peace in the city of Ternopil, author unknown, but thanks him or her a lot for this gorgeous photo, which is symbolizing a life celebration!
Wedding in Ternopil, western Ukraine

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!”