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Lesson 7

Traditions of Ukrainians

Author: Vladyslav Havrylov

The traditional culture of Ukrainians is multifaceted and exciting; its uniqueness lies in the diversity of traditions, which depends on the region where it comes from and its grounds.

Ukrainian national traditions could be divided into the following groups: religious, household, and ethnographic.

Christmas carols

One of the foundations of Ukrainian self-identification in the cultural space is religious songs, particularly carols celebrating the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
A striking example of this is the musical culture of Hutsul carols in Kryvyi Rih:

Songs dedicated to the harvest

Ukraine has always been famous for its bountiful harvests, so agrarian culture is traditionally reflected in Ukrainian holidays. Evidence of this is the musical culture:

Ethno music and modernity

The main treasure for the world community in the study of the traditional culture of Ukraine is the symbiosis of combining ethno-musical national traditions with modernity, a vivid example of which can be seen in the following songs:

Wedding songs

It is also worth noting the wedding ceremonies, which are most clearly reflected in the traditional celebrations:

Religion and beliefs of Ukrainians

The primary religion practiced by Ukrainians is the Christian faith, and the most common religions are Ukrainian Orthodoxy and the Greek Catholic rite.

It should be noted that some Ukrainians also profess a pagan religion.

Ukrainian Orthodoxy

It is known that the first Christians appeared in the time of Prince Askold, so in 945 in Kyiv already stood a wooden church on the site of the modern Elijah's Church. Volodymyr's baptism, the adoption of Christianity in Rus in 988 on the river Pochayni in Kyiv, became the central date of adopting this religion as the official religion of Rus-Ukraine. Kyiv metropolitanate was founded in the 990s and became the center of Christianity throughout Rus. During the reign of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, one of the first documents of codification law in Europe – Ruska Pravda. Church architecture is also actively developing: the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is being founded, and St. Sophia of Kyiv and St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral are being built. These majestic buildings are still the pride of the Ukrainian people.

The recent period is characterized by the establishment of a single Orthodox Church in Ukraine. On January 5, 2019, His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos on the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which unites all Ukrainians of the Orthodox faith. That was an act of recognizing an independent and autonomous church centered in Kyiv.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

It is a Catholic church of the Eastern rite. It was formed as a result of the Brest Union of 1596 by recognizing part of the Orthodox episcopate and clergy of the Kyiv-Halych metropolitanate of the ecclesiastical authority of the Pope. It preserves the Byzantine liturgical rite and is the world's largest Greek-speaking Catholic church (over 5.5 million believers). Today it is one of the most authoritative churches in Ukraine. Most of the clergy are military chaplains in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukrainian paganism

The ancient religious tradition of Ukrainians was formed in the times of Rus-Ukraine, inheriting religious cultures and traditions that existed in pre-Christian times. The traditional pantheon of pagan gods is Perun, Svarog, Mokosha, and Veles. In modern Ukraine, pagan religion is preserved in the confessions of ridnovir communities, tribes, and ethno-folk cultural heritage.

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It is to take responsibility for security and the transmission of traditions from generation to generation.

Lesson 8

Ukrainian folklore

Lesson 8