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Unique Wedding Traditions Practiced in Ukraine

Man hugging a ukrainian woman in traditional clothes.
Wedding traditions put meaning to thence usual rites and that’s what makes them beautiful. | Photo by 3nadezhda01 on Pixabay

Ukraine has certainly one of the world’s most diverse and fascinating cultures and customs.

For the rest of us, we get to see its traditions and customs as they have been for hundreds of years. This is because Ukrainians have worked hard to preserve, hand on, and conserve their culture in the most genuine way possible.

It’s one of the reasons the country has become a popular tourist destination. That, and the fact that they have a lot of attractive women.

Have you heard of Krashenki and Pysanka?

These are the Ukrainian version of Easter eggs, and while other people celebrate Easter by hiding store-bought or merely dyed eggs, Ukrainians spend a significant amount of time and money hand painting elaborate designs on the eggs. These paintings also reflect specific interpretations.

Ukrainian traditions include going to springs or rivers and diving into the water three times amid the harsh weather, claiming that such rituals bring them health and healing.

They aren’t daredevils or insane. Instead, they are passionate for their values and customs. In the same way, it is reflected on how they continue to celebrate marriage through their cultural wedding traditions.

Wedding rings on a table.
Weddings shouldn’t only be a celebration of love but also of culture. | Photo by belikt on Pixabay

Before going through the ups and downs of marriage, you first must enjoy the charm of wedding festivities.

For starters, a Ukrainian wedding is different from an American wedding in terms of the festivities, the procedure, and even the ring placement.

So, if you’re meeting Ukrainian women, you should look at their right side, not their left, because that’s where they wear their wedding rings in this country.

Ukrainians follow a number of wedding traditions during the celebration, and they aren’t all one-day affairs.

In fact, the entire festival normally lasts for days or even weeks, with three major activities thrown in. As a result, whether you’re marrying a Ukrainian woman, or even just attend a wedding there, you’re in for a treat.


Betrothal

In your country, how do engagements or proposals work?

In most parts of the world, it most often is of a guy planning an intimate date, kneeling on one knee, and proposing — and then it’s over! Simple, straightforward, and quick.

However, in Ukraine, proposal, or the Betrothal, is accompanied by a special ceremony that can last up to a week! Here, the groom asks the parents of the bride and relatives for their approval and blessing.

And throughout the ceremony, he will be challenged and put to the test several times.

  • Making the Ransom Payment

No, the bride is not in danger.

The man’s wallet, on the other hand, surely is.

This tradition takes place exactly as the name implies.

The bridesmaids welcome the future groom as soon as he arrives at the bride’s house, asking him questions about the bride or assigning him tasks to prove his worth.

Here’s where the ransom comes in: it will cost him money any time he gives an incorrect answer or does anything incorrectly.

And don’t worry, the guy isn’t going to be mugged. This is all for fun and amusement, and it’s being done to protect the bride from being stolen for an insufficient amount of money or ransom.

  • Blahoslovenja or Blessings

This is where the couple and both of their parents exchange bows after the ransom has been paid or just before the wedding ceremony. Where, the latter then sends wedding wishes and prayers to the bride and groom for a happy and fruitful life.


Ceremony

Weddings in Ukraine, for the most part, follow the same rituals as weddings in other cultures: the priest, the vows, and the embrace.

The distinction, though, is in the specifics.

  • Stepping on the Embroidered Cloth (Rushnyk)

If you’re at a Ukrainian wedding and see a stunning piece of clothing on the board, it’s probably not just for show.

Before taking their vows, the pair walks over the Rushnyk, a traditional embroidered cloth that symbolizes innocence and its protection.

It is said that the first person to walk on the cloth would wear the pants in the relationship. And while in most other countries, it is the men who wear the pants, in Ukraine, the groom almost always lets his bride step on the Rushnyk first.


Celebration

If we refer to it as a wedding reception, Ukrainians call it the Celebration.

No matter where you’re from, the music and merriment are all present in this part of the wedding. Although, as is customary in Ukraine, Ukrainians choose to add a little something extra special to the ordinary.

  • Wearing of Boots

Obviously, the ceremony is a reunion of the groom and bride.

Still, of course, the guy must please his in-laws, and surely he won’t want the mother of the bride feeling left out, so this tradition has him protected.

The groom buys his mother-in-law a pair of boots or sandals before the wedding, and on the wedding day, he calls her to the middle of the reception, where he washes her feet before slipping on the new boots.

Who says the best way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach? Well not, in Ukraine. There, it’s definitely through a pair of boots!

  • Kidnapping the Bride

Now comes the exciting part.

The bride disappears from the room several times in the night, as her bridesmaids whisk her away without her husband’s knowledge. Then he is repeatedly asked to participate in friendly and amusing dares in return for his wife’s “freedom.”

Man and woman holding a flower.
Ukrainian traditions are what makes the country unique and people should appreciate it. | Photo by vicran on Pixabay

The I Do

Wedding rituals have become more complex as a result of culture’s influence on our preferences and practices, as opposed to the once repetitive customs.

This diversity may be difficult in Ukrainian wedding traditions, but that should not be a concern. In this situation, the only thing to do is accept the difference and look forward to that nice I do.

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