Ukrainian New Year Celebration – Julian Calendar
Christmas celebration on December 24-25, and New Year on December 31-January1,(Gregorian calendar), are well known dates to the majority of the population, however, per Julian calendar, Christmas is celebrated on January 6-7, some call it Orthodox Christmas, and the New Year is celebrated on January 13-14. Ukrainian’s call this New Year “Malanka”, the day of St. Melania, or “Generous Eve” (Shchedryi Vechir).
On New Year’s Eve carolers would dress up in various outfits, visit their family and friends, and put on satirical type of skits accompanied by appropriate songs, as well as sing Christmas carols and Shchedrivky (songs of good wishes for the New Year). New Year’s Eve dinner would be similar to Christmas Eve dinner, but less elaborate. A lot of fortune telling took place on New Year’s Eve.
However the turning out of events on New Year’s Day was considered a harbinger of the upcoming year. It was believed that if your New Year Day was great, then the whole year would be as great; if things were not going too well, then the whole year would be pretty turbulent as well. People would avoid taking naps on New Year’s Day, because this would mean that they would be very lazy during the year.
Early morning on New Year’s Day, young boys would visit the homes of their grandparents, family and friends, and scatter few grains of wheat, or oats, over their floor, as a symbol of good luck and prosperity for the New Year. They would also recite special verses, express holiday greetings, and well wishes. As a reward for their visit, they were always treated with sweets and money, since it was considered an honor to be visited, and greeted, by these young “grain sowers”.
Photo of Carolers from Welcome To Ukraine