Ukrainians just love to have guests over (especially on the West of Ukraine). It even doesn’t matter, if you decided to visit somebody in Ukraine absolutely randomly. In every case you will have a sincere reception. You will have a large selection of food in this house. A Ukrainian is even willing to share with you the last piece of bread in his home because you are his GUEST. Also if you are to marry a Ukrainian, you will not have the traditional bachelor’s bread with peanut butter, you will have a really good restaurant at home, because Ukrainian women are some of the best cooks in the world! They are able to cook something delicious even from "nothing". But if a West Ukrainian woman arranges a special occasion (Christmas, Easter, New Year, wedding, birthday, or simply just a meeting with friends or relatives), she could actually stay up all night before the event preparing for the festivity. Sometimes, if even Ukrainians do not have enough money to arrange a party, they will borrow it, but they will prepare the best festive table for the dear guests, especially for a big reception like a wedding or anniversary.
Oh, wedding it is quintessence of Ukrainian hospitality! Who ever was at least one time at a Ukrainian wedding, will understand what I am talking about. Ukrainians have sayings “A table bends from a meal” and “No place to put new dishes on the table”. This means that the reception is just perfect. My North American friend was at a wedding in Lviv, the biggest city of Western Ukraine and she told later, “I have never seen such a wedding in my life. They carried and carried in new dishes, and there really wasn’t a free place on the table. Besides, they did not take off any dishes from the table until the end of the wedding. All the people had fun (because of the wedding!), they were dancing, singing and joking, and I just couldn’t relax, I was thinking, why did not they take this meal away, it can spoil from staying so long a time on the table”.
My dear friend didn’t know some important thing about Ukrainian wedding traditions. First thing, if a wedding table is really full of dishes, it’s mean that the parents of bride and groom are very generous people what make them very respectful in the eyes of society. Second thing, if the wedding staff would take away some dishes from the wedding table before the end of wedding, people would have a bad opinion of the parents of young couple. It would mean the parents are very miserly people. So, nobody takes away any dishes from the Ukrainian wedding table until the wedding is over.
Also I explained to my friend, that she worried in vain that the wedding food will spoil from staying a long time on the table. Ukrainian cooks have such good recipes and technologies for cooking, especially for preparing meat, fish and sweetness stuff, that there is no reason to worry that something will spoil even for the second day after wedding. For example, we had lots of leftovers from my wedding to make another reception for the next day after the wedding. Some of the dishes were even better for next day, for example, holubtsi (cabbage rolls). According to Ukrainian recipe of making holubtsi, they are much better for the second day of cooking. The same thing applies to Ukrainian borshch (beet soup), it is better for second and even third day since it was cooked.
Besides, Ukrainians have another tradition. After the reception, the guests are given some cookies and pies to take home for everybody who wasn’t able to be at the wedding. Closer relatives, like brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles also take home some of the leftovers from main courses (meat, fish etc).
Salads are almost the only foods that are not good for next day after the Ukrainian wedding. So if a wedding is taking place in the village, parents of bride and groom usually dig a big hole behind their backyard for all the salads and other spoiled items. Ukrainians even have a saying, “How many salads did you dig after the wedding?” If lots, it means, “wedding was great!”Perhaps, from the point of view of other nations, it is not reasonable to spend so much money for parties and festivities, but it is such a Ukrainian tradition, and people have kept this tradition for many years. Ukrainian families feel themselves very awful, if people think of them as “misers”. This tendency is especially strong in western Ukraine.
A West Ukrainian woman-cook usually can feel ashamed in two cases. First, if she did not cook enough food for the guests and they went home hungry. Second, if guests did not like her dishes, she would feel worse than not providing enough food.
So, if you are going to visit somebody in Ukraine, be ready for big meal and for incredible Ukrainian hospitality. After that you will want to go to Ukraine again and again.
And here is a video to show you a real Ukrainian hospitality. This is a meal at typical Ukrainian wedding. To be more correct, these are appetizers tables: seven or more courses to come during the wedding reception. Enjoy!
Devotion Of Ukrainian Woman
Wedding In Ukraine