Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; moreover, they provide something steady, reliable and safe in our confusing world. Traditions help to create memories, after all. They help people feel connected to their relatives and previous generations.
Speaking of Ukrainian family traditions, we have to tell you that their origin lies in the times when Cossacks lived here. It is known that these warriors were as one family and had special rules to follow:
- Always respect the elders.
- Honor the guest of the house, respect him, make his stay in your house as good as possible and let him go with peace.
- A woman is the foundation of all the brightest on Earth. Love your mother, sister, wife, and daughter. Do not offend them, and give them joy.
Nowadays people try to follow these rules too, which makes every family very strong and friendly.
Respect for the elders is something children are taught since childhood. It is considered polite to help granny about the house, listen to granddad’s advice, and never argue back.
It is also one of family traditions to welcome guests as if they were the greatest VIPs of the country. Every guest is always welcome and even in the most difficult financial situation the host of the house will make sure that the visitor will be well fed, given the best drinks and warmed.
Although a man is considered to be the head of every family, since he usually works and provides for his wife and children, his wife is said to be the neck of the family organism. What does it mean? Being the neck means that the head will look the way the neck turns. That is the husband will follow his wife’s orders.
Apart from following these main rules of family life, every Ukrainian family has other customs connected with different events in people’s life like marriage, religious or calendar holidays and, of course, childbirth. The latter being one of the most important events cannot be left unattended and we will tell you about some of family traditions connected with children.
Everything starts with a woman getting pregnant. When she learns that she will have a baby, a Ukrainian woman will not tell about it to the whole world, only to her closest people. A pregnant woman is also not recommended to meet sick people, look at snakes, make a haircut or dye hair and buy anything for the future child. The less people know about it, the better. Some people do not even let anyone see the newborn baby for about forty days after the birth before the baptism riot. That is because the baby is considered to be unprotected and vulnerable without the God’s defense. Therefore, if someone looks at the baby with evil eye it may fall ill and parents try not to let it happen.
The riot of baptism is probably one of the most beautiful family traditions in Ukraine. For this significant occasion, all the family and Godparents dress very smart, usually in white clothes. After the priest finishes the child-rites, the godfather cuts locks from four sides of the baby’s head making a cross. After that, parents, other family members and friends have a festive dinner.
Another family tradition connected with children is celebrating the child’s first birthday in a special way. Of course, all the family gather and hold one interesting ceremony, which is thought to show what the child’s future will be like. The baby usually sits on the floor with different things around it. Usually these are keys, money, a book, etc. anything which can hint on the child’s future occupation. Everybody is waiting to see what the baby will choose and find out what it will be. For example, if it chooses money, wealthy life is waiting for it; if it chooses a book, it will be very smart and somehow connected with science, etc.
All in all, there are tons of fascinating family traditions in Ukraine, but the most important thing about them is that they remind us that we are not alone, our family has its own history and we should appreciate every moment spent with our dear ones.