Nature of Ukrainians
To understand the nature of Ukrainians, firstly, we should apply to the Ukrainian folklore, and secondly – to folk rites, customs or rituals. This is a unique cultural layer where we can find evidence of the natural beauty and noble deeds of strong in spirit Ukrainians, who are able to bring harmony, not only at home but also in society.
Traditionally, the eldest and experienced women held “Rada” (Council) and, therefore, managed the community life while the men had to protect the land. So, in contrast to the patriarchal systems in other countries, where the last word in the family always remains behind the man, in a Ukrainian family this right belonged to the eldest woman in the family.
In Ukraine (unlike Russia) did not exist the stereotype of “a drinking husband” who beat his wife. On the contrary, when a “drunk” Ukrainian husband returned home from the tavern, he “lowered his forelock,” because he knew that his wife would drag him by his forelock.
Before agreeing to the marriage, the girl was asking her bridegroom: “Will you let me have my private time on Mondays?” If the bride did not agree, the girl had an absolute right to bring him a pumpkin, that is, to refuse, even despite the parental blessing. If the groom agreed, but then did not fulfill his promise, the wife was entitled to cancel the marriage. This behavior would have been unimaginable at that time for women in Russia, Europe, not to mention the Asian countries.
What did this agreement mean? Once a week, namely on Monday, a young wife had the right to leave the house for the whole day, without asking permission. Household cares during this time lay on the shoulders of her husband, that’s why Monday has always been the most difficult day for them. Since then, we have a very wide spread saying: “Monday – is a heavy day”.
This custom was very necessary for young women. It facilitated the transition of a girl into a married life. On Mondays, the young wives gathered together, relaxed, shared secrets, especially in the field of intimate life, had fun. Neither their husbands nor mothers-in-law could bother them at that time.
A Ukrainian witch
In Ukraine, witchcraft has always been perceived as a manifestation of extraordinary abilities and wisdom. It has never been punished or prosecuted unlike in Western Europe. Witches, endowed with magical power, could use it to the extent of their promiscuity – both for good and for evil.
Natural beauty and attractiveness of a witch – woman makes her especially dangerous for men because “the one who sees her once, will fall in love to death.” A Ukrainian witch – is not ugly, she is a woman with an exceptional female attraction. The Ukrainians have never been frightened by this witch, on the contrary, they often asked her for help in desperate situations.
“Berehynia” – symbol of womanhood
The ancient Ukrainian symbol of Berehynia or Oranta (means “a defender“) is the image of a woman who protects family, clan, nation. She is depicted with her hands up – a symbolic gesture of protection and blessing. It is a sacred feminine image, which is also the central symbol of Ukrainian national revival. Cossacks believed that only mother’s blessing could protect them in a bloody battle. More than losing a weapon, they were afraid to lose the amulet, made by the caring mother’s hands.
A woman in Ukrainian culture has always impersonated not only the home coziness but also the preservation of spiritual values. On the ancient images of Berehynia her raised upwards hands are ended with horses’ heads or she is depicted among the riders which emphasize her active position of women in the Ukrainian society. Berehynia symbolized a security force and protected from danger the family and the entire nation. She was a guardian and teacher of the native traditions and culture.
The material was translated by BEST KIEV GUIDE from the article of a Ukrainian blogger who deeply studied Ukrainian folklore and traditions and collected it all in one article.