St. Andrew’s Day in Podillia Celebrates with 19th-Century Roleplay
Ukraine celebrates St. Andrew’s Day on Dec. 13. On the eve of the holiday, women are performing different rituals to try to look into the future and maybe find their true love
In the village of Busha, in the southern Vinnytsia region, preparations for St. Andrew’s Day started early in the morning. First, local residents lit a pre-revolutionary stove in an old house.
The housewife makes dough for ‘kalyta’ — a flat, dry bread baked in Ukraine for this Orthodox holiday. From ancient times, young girls used it while fortunetelling.
“There were four daughters in my family. I was the youngest. We baked kalyta, then my mother laid it on a slope and let the dog come in. My kalyta was always bitten by the dog first,” Busha village resident, Mariia Kozyniatko said.
According to popular belief, the girl whose kalyta was bitten first, would be the first to marry. Mariia says that was exactly what happened.
When the dough rises, each girl forms the ‘kalyta’ in her own way. Guests used to go to Busha to taste it. Viktor says there are no traditions like this in his native Zhytomyr region.
“Each region celebrates in its own way. The way Podillia celebrates the holiday is not celebrated anywhere else. Let’s try to bite the kalyta,” guest, Viktor Zamyshliaiev said.
To visualize the ancient rituals, local residents reproduce the evening in a Podillia family of the 19th century. A young girl plays the role of a daughter of strict parents. She asks her parents to let her go to parties with friends.
They also demonstrate ancient fortune telling. The image of the future husband they got from pouring wax into a cup of water.
The girls take turns rearranging boots from the house to the gate. Each step identifies a man’s characteristics.
A longstanding tradition says that ‘kalyta’ should be bitten by a man first.
This old-fashioned holiday made a very pleasant impression on the guests. They ask for more events like this.
“We are very glad that we were invited today. We are glad to be here. Of course, traditions need to be revived. Because we are a nation. If we do not revive it, there will be no nation without Ukrainian culture,” guest, Viktoriia Sandul said.
Busha residents are already preparing for St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. Locals invite everyone who is interested in the culture of Podillia to spend the holidays with them.