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Ukrainian Old New Year & Malanka celebration: traditions, rituals and rites

Дата: Січ-13-2018
Категорія: Блог

January 13-14 is the Old New Year in Ukraine. January 14 is popular in Ukrainian culture for meeting and greeting relatives and friends, and visiting the graves of dead members of the family and, of course, visiting churches. The tradition to celebrate Old New Year is associated with the divergence of two calendars: the Julian calendar “old style” and Gregorian – calendar “new style.” This difference in the XX-XXI centuries is 13 days since the New Year, Old Style, is celebrated on the night of January 13 to 14. The beauty of traditions and rituals is still alive in villages, and the Western Ukraine takes the lead in celebrating this day with rites.

This old holiday also coincides in Ukraine with Malanka, a traditional carnival-like holiday from pre-Christian times.


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January 14 (January 1, Old Style) Christian Church commemorates St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea Kappodakiyskoyi. In ancient times, this day was called Vasyliva day and was crucial for the whole year. The eve (now January 13) is called Vasylivym evening.
Basil evening is popular for eating the best and most delicious food that is prepared at home: pies, sausage, meat, pancakes, and drinking beer, wine, and vodka. Mandatory for the New Year’s table are Kutia, pig, or any dish with pork, because St. Basil is considered the patron saint of pigs. There is a belief that if the night before Basil’s day desk is filled with a lot of pork, these animals will multiply in abundance and offer their owners a good profit.

The Old New Year table is served with dishes made with rabbit and rooster to be nimble as a rabbit and rooster – to be light as a bird. Another obligatory festive meal on Vasily day is porridge. Cooking is accompanied by special rituals.

On New Year’s Eve, the oldest of the women brings pantry cereal (usually buckwheat), and the oldest man brings water from a well or river.


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Then they all sit at the table, and the oldest of the women begins to stir the porridge in the pot, saying some ritual words. Then they all get up from the table, and the porridge is put into the oven with a bow. Cooked porridge fetches from the oven and is carefully considered. If the pot is full of nourishing porridge and crumbly, then you can expect a happy year and a rich harvest, and the next morning the porridge is eaten. If you get a cracked pot, it does not promise anything good to the household, and this mess should not be eaten, but instead thrown into the hole for a chance to change destiny.

The rites of the first day of the New Year is aimed at the welfare both in specific areas of peasant activity and throughout the economy as a whole. Rite posivannya, which is held on the morning of Vasily day is done to get a good harvest in the coming year. This ancient ritual is also known by other names: Avsenev, ovsen, Useni. The essence of it is that that the children gather together before dinner, are walked through the huts with a sleeve or bag of grain oats, buckwheat, rye, and other breads while singing a zasivalnu song.


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Children go from door to door and sing Christmas carols in exchange for candies and chocolates. This is very similar to the American Halloween trick-or-treat tradition, though the Ukrainian children do not dress in costumes for Old New Year’s.

On the morning of Old New Year’s Day, January 14, men and boys go around knocking on everyone’s doors. According to tradition, it is lucky for the first person to enter each room in a house to be a man or a boy. Once the man or boy has entered the room, he throws buckwheat or grain onto the floor and recites a rhyme wishing good luck and happiness for the upcoming year. Then as thanks, the men or boys are presented with small gifts such as candies or $1 UAH bills. The last part of this tradition is that you may not clean up the buckwheat grains until the next day, or else you will sweep away your good luck!

Ritual and characters of Malanka

The Malanka feast name comes from St. Melania Day, celebrated on Dec. 31, which by the old Julian calendar falls on Jan. 13.

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The Malanka celebrations mark the arrival of the New Year and begin after sunset on the evening of St. Melania day on Jan. 13, which is also called the Generous Evening (Shchedryi Vechir) in Ukraine. The celebration’s participants dress as the characters involved in the ritual – Malanka, Vasyl, the She-Goat, the Old Man, the Gypsy, the Doctor, the Cat, and others – and hit the streets of Ukrainians villages and towns.

Malanka is usually portrayed by a young man dressed in a woman’s clothes. His makeup is bizarre – the face is whitened with chalk, the eyebrows are darkened with soot, and the cheeks are painted red with beet juice. Malanka is portrayed as a clumsy housewife whose housekeeping efforts make everybody laugh.

“It was a hint to young men that they should choose a good wife, since the New Year and Christmas celebrations were followed by the marriage season,” Kuklina says.

The She-Goat

While the Malanka character is prominent in the masquerade, the She-Goat character also stands out: the goat is a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

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The performers lead the She-Goat on a leash (in Ukrainian the ritual is called “vodyty kozu” – “walking the goat”). The Goat is played by a young man in a mask and a sheepskin coat worn inside out. A skit is acted out in which the Goat starts to hit everybody in the house with its horns. At the end of the skit, the goat is shot and dies. Its death symbolizes the winter period and the death of all the plants, according to Kuklina.

But the climax of the ritual is the Goat’s resurrection. The Doctor and all the people present during the ritual try to bring the animal back to life. The doctor’s unsuccessful methods make everybody laugh – he peeks into goat’s ears, and counts its teeth to determine whether the goat is young or old.

When nothing helps, people even try to milk the Goat. Since it is played by a man, this trick usually “reanimates” the Goat quickly.

“The Goat’s dying and revival is the ritual’s central point, connected to agrarian cults symbolizing nature’s death and resurrection,” Kuklina says.

The Malanka ritual is also connected with the cult of the dead.


“Our predecessors believed that the beginning of a new life is not possible without the consent of the dead relatives,” the ethnologist said.

Tradition’s revival

The pre-Christian Malanka New Year celebrations faded away during the Soviet times as the atheist communist regime suppressed religious and national traditions. But after Ukraine gained independence in 1991, the Malanka celebrations started to revive, especially in Western Ukraine.

Chernivtsi and Vashkivtsi in Chernivtsi Oblast are known as the some of the best places to go to see traditional Malanka celebrations.

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But the citizens of Horoshova, a town of 2,000 people in Ternopil Oblast some 480 kilometers west of Kyiv, claim their Malanka is the biggest in Ukraine. Every year on Jan. 13, the town’s residents prepare a new program of Old New Year celebrations, which thousands of people from the area come to see.
“All residents of Horoshova aged between 3 and 50 years take part in the Malanka celebrations,” says 15-year-old Horoshova resident Viktoria Kozak. “People from the whole district come to see the Malanka Eve events. All our guests like our performances very much.”

Happy Old New Year from Ukraine! 😉

Sources: https://www.eturbonews.com/81866/ukrainians-celebrated-old-new-year-traditions-rituals-and-rites; https://www.kyivpost.com/lifestyle/malanka-one-ukraines-interesting-holidays.html



How to protect Ukrainian history against the political manipulation?

Дата: Січ-11-2018
Категорія: Блог

Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv is an important advanced institution for protecting history against the political manipulation.
Being founded in founded in 2004 as a private non-profit organisation it is committed to non-material aims.

During our intensive course of Ukrainian language and culture our we organize the visits for our students to the most important and the most interesting institutions of Lviv. This time we visited Center for Urban History of East Central Europe. Dr. Iryna Matsevko, Deputy Directorand Academic Coordinator of this Center gave us a deep overview of their projects and activities.

In all its activities, be they academic or cultural, the Center strives to adhere to principles of openness (toward what is new), tolerance (with regard to difference and diversity) and responsibility (for the future).

Our students in the library of the Center listening to the lecture


As an institute of historical scholarship, it seeks to offer fresh intellectual impulses and help abandon dated questions and preconceived answers. By information and open discussion, they try to help prevent history from being abused for political ends. Through conferences, seminars and exhibitions they hope to promote scholarly and cultural exchange.

They offer young researchers additional opportunities to do advanced, internationally recognized work in their own country, seeking to reduce the “brain drain” emigration of qualified scholars.

Center strives to be a part of contemporary Lviv’s urban society and public, open to diverse communities and in productive cooperation with public and cultural institutions.

As an institute that not only researches the city of the past, but also lives and works in the city of the present, they want to go beyond academic activity and support cultural and other public initiatives, which they see as both valuable and seminal.

Center wants to contribute to Lviv becoming a central site for intellectual, academic and cultural life not only in Ukraine but in Europe.

The Center is located in a historical building of 1905

The specific goals of the Center are also listed in its Foundation Charter of 9 November 2005:

To encourage research into the Urban History of East Central Europe through the founding of an academic research institute
To anchor Urban Studies as a field of interdisciplinary research in Lviv and East Central Europe through international cooperation with other scholarly institutions
To encourage research into the history of Lviv as an urban center of a multi-cultural past and heritage in cooperation with the city’s existing academic institutions
To enrich Lviv’s current cultural life by organizing and supporting public events
To support an awareness of Ukraine’s European belonging – inside as well as outside Ukraine – through academic research and international cultural exchange, to support Ukraine’s perspective toward membership in the European Union
To promote public awareness of the importance of the historic cityscape of Lviv through the gathering and cataloguing of information and documentation, helping to protect and preserve part of Europe’s cultural treasures

The students of our intensive Ukrainian courses learn-ukrainian.org.ua visiting the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv

The Video Archive of the Center’s for Urban History events provides access to a collection of audiovisual materials, including videos of public lectures, discussions, roundtables, and meetings with historians and remarkable personalities, that have been held at the Center. These materials have been posted online with consent of the participants, and can be used for professional, as well as educational purposes.

“Urban Media Archive” consists of digitized or created in digital formats of visual and audiovisual resources that depict the city and city life of Central and Eastern Europe.

Dr. Harald Binder, Founder and President of the Foundation Board

In order to have a critical understanding of the past and to create an open and participatory historical culture in society, the Center initiates and implements projects in the field of public history. Using the different formats for dialogue about the past, among contemporaries, they strive to overcome prejudices and stereotypes, to include in the conversation, as well as in history, new participants, actors and themes. As the academic sphere works with various public environments they pay special attention to issues of heritage and museum practices, digital history and creating new archives, and to the connections between art and complex issues of the past and finally, about the potential of the city and its public spaces.

The Center is located in a historical building of 1905 designed by the noted Lviv secessionist architect Ivan (Jan) Levyns’kyi.

Address: Vul. Akad. Bohomoltsia 6, Lviv 79005, Ukraine
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Library hours: Monday-Friday10 am – 5 pm
Exhibition room: Wednesday-Friday 1 pm – 8 pm; Saturday, Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
www.lvivcenter.org/en



For the Ukrainians Christmas is the most important family holiday of the whole year

Дата: Січ-5-2018
Категорія: Блог

For the Ukrainians Christmas is the most important family holiday of the whole year.
How do the Ukrainians celebrate it?


It is celebrated solemnly, as well as merrily, according to ancient customs that have come down through the ages and are still observed today. Ukrainian Christmas customs are based not only on Christian traditions, but, to a great degree, on those of the pre-Christian, pagan culture and religion. The Ukrainian society was basically agrarian at that time and had developed an appropriate pagan culture, elements of which have survived to this day.

Christmas Day is celebrated either on December 25 in accordance with the Roman Catholic tradition (Gregorian Calendar), or on January 7 which is traditionally the Orthodox or Eastern Rite (Julian Calendar) church holy day.
The Christmas Eve Supper or Sviata Vecheria (Holy Supper) brings the family together to partake in special foods and begin the holiday with many customs and traditions, which reach back to antiquity. The rituals of the Christmas Eve are dedicated to God, to the welfare of the family, and to the remembrance of the ancestors.

Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians in Ukraine traditionally have 2 Christmas dinners. The first one is a Lent Dinner, it is held on the January 6 and should consist of meatless dishes. Traditionally people fast (don’t eat anything) all day but you might start the day drinking some holy water that has been blessed at church. You can’t start eating the meal until the first star is seen in the sky. The second one is a Christmas Festive dinner held on January 7, when the meat dishes and alcohol are already allowed on the table.

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The dinner normally has 12 dishes which represent Jesus’s 12 disciples. However, even for Christmas, Ukrainians manage to bring in so many ancient rituals, that at times the line between the religious and the pagan becomes quite blurry. Both Christmas dinners traditionally include a number of authentic Ukrainian dishes, which have over thousand year history and date back to pagan times.

Christmas dinner

Kutya, being single most important Christmas dish in Ukraine, was known as a popular ritualistic food even before the arrival of Christianity. This is a cooked wheat porridge, mixed with poppy seeds, honey, and raisins. It symbolizes wealth and appreciates for successful harvest season.
Then comes borshch (beet soup) with vushka (boiled dumplings filled with chopped mushrooms and onions). This is followed by a variety of fish – baked, broiled, fried, cold in aspic, fish balls, marinated herring and so on. Then come varenyky (boiled dumplings filled with cabbage, potatoes, buckwheat grains, or prunes. There are also holubtsi (stuffed cabbage), and the supper ends with uzvar.
Meatless soups like dried mushroom or sauerkraut (kapusniak) are popular as is beet borshch on the Ukrainian Holy Supper table. Often, the soup is served with mushroom-filled vushka dumplings, which means “little ears”.

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Pickled whitefish or herring, their silver color and scales all portending good luck and coins, are a must for Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. But other pickled items like pickled mushrooms and other vegetables and salads appear in great variety.
Freshwater fish, usually whitefish, carp, lake perch, trout or pike, is always part of the dinner. It is served whole or filleted, breaded and fried, poached, baked, stewed or glazed with aspic, depending on family preferences, and often several varieties appear on the table — one fried and one prepared another way.
Beans / Legumes / Vegetables. Split Peas and Cabbage Split Peas and Cabbage. Cooked beans or cabbage with dried peas are popular. This latter dish is also popular at Polish Christmas Eve suppers and is known as Kapusta z Grochem. Beans, legumes, and cabbage or sauerkraut all figure prominently because they signify wealth and prosperity in the coming year.
Cereals / Grains / Dumplings. Cereals and grains show up as the filling for holubtsi or cabbage rolls. Another interesting vegetarian spin on this dish is bread-stuffed beet leaf rolls. Meatless varenyky, pyrohy and other dumplings abound. And a special treat is savory pampushky, which can be made savory or in a sweet variety with yeast dough (see Desserts, below).

Another pre-Christian detail of traditional Ukrainian Christmas dinner is Didukh. The room where Christmas dinner is eaten normally has a Didukh decoration placed in it. The Didukh is made from a sheaf of wheat and it symbolizes the large wheat field in Ukraine. It literally means ‘grandfather spirit’ and can represent people’s ancestors being with them in their memories. These days modern Ukrainian families just put some heads of wheat in a vase rather than a whole sheaf of wheat.

After Christmas Dinner many children as well as grown-ups go visit their neighbors and family members and friends who live nearby to wish them Merry Christmas and sing some Christmas carols. While many of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve customs are of a solemn nature, the custom of caroling is joyful and merry. Ukrainian Christmas songs or carols have their origins in antiquity, as do many other traditions practiced at Christmas time. One more fun Christmas tradition in Ukraine is Vertep. Vertep, the Ukrainian Christmas puppet theater, is a group of people going from house to house with short Biblical themed scenes and carol singing. After seeing the performance, the host traditionally gives money or food to Vertep.

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After all the preparations have been completed, the father offers each member of the family a piece of bread dipped in honey, which had been previously blessed in church. He then leads the family in prayer. After the prayer the father extends his best wishes to everyone with the greeting Khrystos Razhdaietsia (Christ is born), and the family sits down to a twelve-course meatless Christmas Eve Supper.

Both koliadky and shchedrivky have pagan elements in them, but many have been Christianized. For example, one pagan carol tells of a landowner who is awakened by a swallow and told to make preparations, because three guests are coming to his house: the sun, the moon and the rain. In the Christianized version the three guests become Jesus Christ, St. Nicholas and St. George. The very popular Ukrainian carol in the United states, “Carol of the Bells”, in its originality is a shchedrivka and tells of a swallow (herald of Spring) that has come to a landowner’s house and asks him to come out and see how rich he is, how many calves he has, and so on.

The themes of Ukrainian Christmas songs vary. Many, of course, deal with the birth of Christ and that occasion’s joyful celebrations, and many of them have apocryphal elements. Another group of carols contain purely pagan mythological elements. Still another group deals with Ukrainian history of the 9-12 centuries, mostly with the heroic episodes in the lives of some of the princes that were favorite among the people. One of the largest groups of carols are glorification songs – glorifying the landowner, the farmer, his wife, his sons, his daughters, every member of the family. These songs glorify their work as well as their personal traits.

Caroling required extensive preparation. Each group had a leader. One member dressed as a goat. Another as a bag carrier, the collector of all the gifts people would give them. Yet another carried a six-pointed star attached to a long stick with a light in its center, which symbolized the Star of Bethlehem. In some places the people even had musical instruments, such as the violin, tsymbaly (dulcimer), or the trembita (a wooden pipe about 8-10 feet long, used in the Carpathian mountains by the Hutsuls).

Caroling was not a simple singing of Christmas songs; it was more of a folk opera. The carolers first had to ask for permission to sing. If the answer was yes, they entered the house and sang carols for each member of the family, even for the smallest child. Sometimes they even performed slow ritualistic dances. They also had to present a short humorous skit involving the goat. The custom of the goat accompanying the carolers has its origin in the pagan times when the goat represented the god of fertility. The skit showed the goat dying and then being brought back to life. This also symbolized the death of Winter and the birth of Spring. The caroling always ended with short well-wishing poems, appropriately selected for each home.

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Koliadky and shchedrivky are the oldest groups of Ukrainian folk songs. They are sung by Ukrainians at Christmas time throughout the world.
Happy Holidays – Veselykh sviat!
Ukrainian Christmas – Traditions, Folk customs, and Recipes



The Unknown Ukrainian Carol that everyone knows

Дата: Лис-25-2017
Категорія: Блог

There’s a Ukrainian folksong that you know. Except that you don’t know that it’s Ukrainian, and a folksong. The enchanting music that from the pen of Peter J. Wilhousky became known to the world as “Carol of the Bells” was composed by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1904 based on a Ukrainian folk song. Peter J. Wilhousky made his arrangement following a performance of the original song by Alexander Koshetz’s Ukrainian National Chorus at Carnegie Hall on October 5, 1921. The tune became extremely popular and has been arranged for and covered by many different genres. Here is an arrangement from the US group Pentatonix:

The world-known lyrics of Wilhousky speak about the ringing of bells that call to throw cares away. The original lyrics based on the Ukrainian folk song “Schedryk” are much less known. Though they are based on the same melody, the lyrics of the two songs share nothing in common. This is the original Leontovych atrrangement animated by the Ukrainian artist Ev Melekhovets:

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The lyrics speak about a swallow that flew into a master’s household and started twittering to him about the increase of his livestock.

Shchedryk shchedryk, shchedrivochka, Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka [New Year’s carol];
pryletila lastivochka, A little swallow flew [into the household]
stala sobi shchebetaty, and started to twitter,
hospodarya vyklykaty: to summon the master:
“Vyydy, vyydy, hospodaryu, “Come out, come out, O master [of the household],
podyvysya na kosharu, look at the sheep pen,
tam ovechky pokotylys’, there the ewes are nestling
a yahnychky narodylys’. and the lambkin have been born
V tebe tovar ves’ khoroshyy, Your goods [livestock] are great,
budesh’ maty mirku hroshey, you will have a lot of money, [by selling them]
V tebe tovar ves’ khoroshyy, Your goods [livestock] are great,
budesh’ maty mirku hroshey, you will have a lot of money, [by selling them]
khoch ne hroshey, to polova: if not money, then chaff: [from all the grain you will
harvest]
v tebe zhinka chornobrova.” you have a dark-eyebrowed [beautiful] wife.”
Shchedryk shchedryk, shchedrivochka, Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka,
pryletila lastivochka. A little swallow flew.

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Now, what is a swallow doing around Christmas in Ukraine? The Ukrainian swallows spend their winters South of the Sahara. The culprit of this confusion is the Russian Tsar Peter I, who in 1699 on course to “chop a window to Europe” established New Year to be celebrated on January 1, following the example of the other Christian nations. Before that, Ukrainians celebrated New Year around the spring equinox. From pagan times, it was the reawakening of nature that marked the start of the New Year. The ritual songs called “shchedrivky,” which means “bountiful New Years carols,” were meant to bestow all the earthly riches on a master’s homestead and wish him a fertile year – quite a desirable outcome in an agricultural society. It was also Peter I who introduced Christmas trees to be used as a celebration attribute. Before that, the Christmas decorations that Ukrainians used were made from straw. The main one used is called didukh and symbolizes fertility.

If the swallow around Christmas wasn’t enough for confusion, Ukrainians sing these New Year bountiful shchedrivky not on January 1, but on January 13 – a result of the Orthodox church using the Julian calendar, which runs 13 days later than the Gregorian calendar used by the Catholic church. But teams of carolers start roaming their hometowns five days before, on the Orthodox Christmas which takes place on January 7. They are often dressed as characters present during Christ’s birth in Bethlehem (the three Kings, Angels, shepherds, Herod), but also as the ritual goat, and such characters as the Gypsy and Jew, which had a special place in the life of Ukraine’s village agricultural society, as well as Death that comes to take Herod, and always carry the octagonal Bethlehem star that by Christian legend appeared above the birthplace of Christ and directed the three Kings to visit the newborn Child. Singing Christian carols about the nativity of Christ as well as pre-Christian songs about the creation of the world and bestowing blessings on the families they visit, the teams move along their hometown, gathering treats along the way.

During the Christmas course you will have the possibility to:
• cook and taste Ukrainian dishes
• take part in Ukrainian traditional activities
• introduction to Lviv excursion
• visit the most interesting places of Ukraine
• sing Ukrainian traditional and pop songs
• make a presentation of your native culture and country
• play in Ukrainian folk and present-day games
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From pre-Christian times, the holiday of Christmas celebrated on the winter solstice was one that linked the visible and invisible world and opened windows into dimensions – those inhabited by spirits and ancestors of the family. On this day, animals could speak, humans made peace with each other, and the living and the dead gathered at the ritual Lent dinner with 12 dishes, originally to the number of the 12 months, but now to the number of Apostles.

To this day, the tradition of Christmas caroling lasting up to 40 days in some regions of Ukraine opens a door into a reality connecting past generations with those of today, heavens with the earth, and in which the the mundane gives way to festivity for old and young. This happens in villages and in cities, outdoors and indoors – wherever the teams of carolers might happen to bring ancient and new verses of peace and celebration. You can watch how everyday life gets transformed in a busy Ukrainian metropolis when a swallow leads caroling kids on their yearly quest in this animation put to a cover of Leontovych’s Shchedryk, known worldwide as Carol of the Bells, produced by Oleh Skrypka:

http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/01/07/the-unknown-ukrainian-carol-that-everyone-knows/#arvlbdata

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10 Reasons Why Ukraine Is A New Trending Travel Destination

Дата: Лис-20-2017
Категорія: Блог

In a continent full of well-traveled destinations, one country is stepping forward as Europe’s final frontier: Ukraine. Colorful, enchanting, and never boring, Ukraine is at the edge of a tourism boom. From the sophisticated museums and cafes of Kyiv to the peasant food and rural farms of the countryside, Ukraine has something for everyone. Here’s why Europe’s undiscovered marvel should be on your travel bucket list.

1. The Food

Ukrainian food is so much more than borsht, pierogi, and vodka. In the Carpathian Mountains, try banosh: a highland shepherd dish of corn flour cooked in sour cream with salty sheep cheese, wild mushrooms, and crunchy speckles of pork fat. In cosmopolitan Kyiv, where traditional food with a modern twist is served in upmarket environments, savor fine dining experiences at budget-friendly prices. A favorite here is Pervak Restaurant, 2 Rohnidynska St, in downtown Kyiv. (Make sure you have the vodka tasting- ask your waiter for their favorites, which probably will include horseradish and Plum). Also, find the secret path to the OB Restaurant in Maidan, (Original Blockade) for some of Ukraine’s fines food and libations – everything is sourced in Ukraine – meats, fish, beer, wine cognac, champagne and more! Worth the challenge to find it, but make sure you know the password – ;-). Also, another must go is to have Chicken Kyiv (yes, there really is a Chicken Kyiv dish) at the Chicken Kyiv restaurant and leave room for the absolutely heavenly Kyiv Cake, like no other desert I have ever had.

2. Lviv

If Prague has become too crowded for you, consider Lviv: now known as “the new Prague”. You better hurry though before it becomes completely “discovered”. As the mayor Mayor Andriy Sadovyi of Lviv recently told me in an interview – if Kiev is the heart of the country, than Lviv is the soul. This stunning city is where traditional Ukrainian music, food, architecture, and history come together in an unforgettable whirlwind of experiences – plus a splash of modern kitsch.

Why learn Ukrainian in Lviv?

Because Lviv is:

ancient and the most interesting Ukrainian city for tourists (every year 1 million of visitors)
really Ukrainian speaking city
close to EU’s boundary
not expensive city
has unique multicultural tradition: combines the Ukrainian, Polish, Germans, Armenians, Jewish and others cultures
modern and progressive city with up to day theaters, cinemas, caf?, universities …
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3. Chernobyl Tours

The site of one of the most notorious and frightening nuclear disasters in modern history doesn’t seem like an obvious tourist hotspot, but a swarm of tour operators hope to change all that. They insist that Chernobyl safe to visit – and the 10,000 tourists who explore the site every year agree. If you’re eager to see a post-apocalyptic version of a world that could have been – or celebrate the wildlife that has started to reclaim the abandoned area – you’ll love Chernobyl tours. Photographers call it a dream to experience too.

4. Accessibility

With daily non-stop flights on Ukrainian International Airways going to Kyiv from New York’s JFK airport and dozens of other cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam, Paris, and even Beijing daily, Ukraine’s marvels have never been so easy to access. Just pack a bag, step on a plane, and go – no annoying connections necessary! And, the fares to Ukraine are significantly lower than to almost all other European destinations.

5. Architecture

Ukraine boasts some of the world’s most beautiful Slavic architecture. From Carpathian wooden churches in the countryside to Saint Sophia’ Cathedral and the majestic Opera Hotel in Kyiv, Ukraine’s historic buildings will mesmerize even the most discerning architecture buff.

6. History

Livadia Palace, which hosted Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at the 1945 Yalta Conference, is now open to tourists as a museum – just one of the many ways Ukraine invites its visitors to step into history. On ancient cobblestone streets and alleyways and in modern-era military bunkers, tourists in Ukraine don’t just visit the present: they experience history as well.

7. Cost

More than almost anywhere else in Europe, Ukraine is affordable! Why sleep in overpriced hostels in Rome or London when you can enjoy a multi-course gourmet meal in one of Ukraine’s finest restaurants for around $15USD. In Ukraine, budget costs don’t mean budget quality.

Why an individual Ukrainian language course with learn-ukrainian.org.ua?

Our Individual Ukrainian courses are highly personalized and designed to improve your Ukrainian communication skills, whether your focus is social, financial, legal, or any other realm of business. Upon completion of a Ukrainian course with School of Ukrainian Language and Culture here in Lviv, you will have the skills and confidence to communicate in Ukrainian with colleagues, clients, and suppliers.

Who should attend our Ukrainian School learn-ukrainian.org.ua?

• Anyone doing business in Ukraine

• Anyone being relocated to a Ukrainian-speaking region and wishing to attend an Ukrainian course in order to prepare for their assignment

• Business professionals conducting business regularly with Ukrainian speakers who wish to build rapport and strengthen relationships by attending a Ukrainian course and improving language skills

• Government and non-governmental agency representatives working in a Ukrainian-speaking region who need to be able to communicate at all levels

8. Carpathian Mountains

Everyone who sees Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains immediately falls in love with their wide, sweeping vistas, breathtaking mountain peaks, and unforgettable local culture. Escape Kyiv’s cosmopolitan city vibe with a hike in the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, paint traditional Easter Eggs with local mountain shepherds, or enjoy vodka and dumplings in a rural guesthouse!

9. Safety

Despite what eye-catching headlines about Crimea might suggest, Europe’s biggest country is incredibly safe. Standard travel wisdom applies: avoid demonstrations and disputed territories, and let Ukraine’s friendly locals put you at ease in no time at all.

10. Culture

In a country of so many wonders, Ukraine’s best feature is easy to spot: its people. Ukrainians are friendly, English is widely-spoken, and everyone is eager to share the many incredible festivals and events that make Ukraine such a fun place to visit all year-round. For more details on how to explore and where to stay see below.

We help to learn Ukrainian fun, fast, effective! – learn-ukrainian.org.ua 😉

How to Get There:

Ukrainian International Airways also known as UIA, is Ukraine’s leading international airline with its hub at the ultra-modern Kyiv Boryspil Airport (KBP). UIA features three classes of service along with legendary Ukrainian hospitality onboard its daily non-stop flights from New York’s JFK airport to Kyiv and easy connecting flights to ten cities throughout Ukraine, and also with onward connections to over 80 destinations around the world. Partnerships with JetBlue and Virgin America allow for easy seamless connections from over 50 gateways in North America. Frequent flyers with UIA can also earn and redeem miles through our Panorama Club frequent flyer program and fly on other international airlines like Air France, Austrian Airlines, KLM, Etihad, and TAP Portugal. UIA also has a tri-lingual reservations staff and booking can be made at 1-800-876-0114, online at www.FlyUIA.com T: +1 800.876.0114 W: www.FlyUIA.com FB: facebook.com/flyuia.us/

(https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-reasons-why-ukraine-is-a-new-trending-travel-destination_us_59f78d7fe4b0e4c2eab1c300)

To prepare for this trip learn basic Ukrainian online by Skype lessons – just send us time you would like to meet (learn.ukrainian@gmail.com)! 😉



Ukrainian heritage and the anthropology PhD work in the GB – we are happy to introduce you Elena Liber!

Дата: Жов-7-2017
Категорія: Блог

My name is Elena Liber and I am a PhD student from London doing research in L’viv, Ukraine. My paternal grandmother lived through the Holodomor as a child and both of my paternal grandparents were Ostarbeiters taken as forced labour from Ukraine to Germany during the Second World War. After the war they moved to the UK where I grew up. Growing up I was surrounded by stories of Ukraine and the war which gave me a keen interest in the history of Ukraine and my Ukrainian heritage. This interest is what motivated me to carry out research in Ukraine.

I first travelled to Ukraine in November 2016 for several months and again in July 2017 for another few months. During my time in Ukraine I have been studying Ukrainian language, visiting many museums and historical places and doing interviews. I have learnt a great deal during my time in Ukraine and I have made some really good friends who have made me feel very welcome. L’viv is an incredibly interesting city with a fascinating history and culture and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to live here and spend time with the people I have met.

My Ukrainian grandparents survived forced labour camps in Germany during the Second World War



Ukrainian-American writer and guest speaker learns Ukrainian with us!

Дата: Вер-27-2017
Категорія: Блог

We are happy to introduce you an on-line student of Ukrainian Language and Culture School learn-ukrainian.org.ua Mike Buryk from the USA.
Mike takes Ukrainian lessons by Skype with the teacher from Lviv and he has great progress!
Mike Buryk is a very interesting person, he is an Ukrainian-American writer and guest speaker, now produces and hosts two English-language monthly podcasts about Ukraine.

Krynytsya (The Well)” features discussions with Ukrainians around the world about culture, history, genealogy, the arts and personal projects. “Made in Ukraine Tech Startup Edition” has interviews with Ukrainian entrepreneurs talking about their technology startup companies and their efforts to reach a global audience.


Ми раді представити вам онлайн-студента Школи української мови та культури learn-ukrainian.org.ua Майка Бурика зі США.
Майк вивчає українську мову по Skype зі вчителем зі Львова, і він має великий прогрес!
Майк Бурик – дуже цікава людина, він українсько-американський письменник і запрошений лектор багатьох установ, який зараз випускає та проводить два англомовні щомісячні подкасти про Україну.
Криниця” – це дискусії з українцями по всьому світу про культуру, історію, генеалогію, мистецтво та індивідуальні проекти.


“Зроблено в Україні Tech Startup Edition” – це інтерв’ю з українськими підприємцями, які розповідають про свої технології запуску компаній і про їх зусилля, спрямовані на досягнення глобальної аудиторії. https://soundcloud.com/ukrainetech

Дуже цікаво!



Our Student German Diplomat Gives the Interview in Ukrainian! Our Student German Diplomat Gives the Interview in Ukrainian! Listen how how well it is possible learn the language!!

Дата: Вер-15-2017
Категорія: Блог

Чудове інтерв’ю студента нашої Школи – дипломата посольства Німеччини в Україні Данієля Лісснера на Громадському радіо!! Послухайте, як можна вивчити мову!! Пишаємося Тобою, Данієлю! Дякуємо за співпрацю!!

An excellent interview with our student – diplomat of the German Embassy in Ukraine Daniel Lissner for Громадське радіо!! Listen how how well it is possible learn the language !! We are proud of you, Daniel! Thanks for the cooperation!!

Метою Українсько -Німецького року мов є розширення існуючої співпраці між освітніми і культурними закладами обох країн та ініціювання нових довгострокових партнерських зв’язків і проектів. Спільні заходи мають стати зримими для широкого загалу. Спільний Українсько-Німецький рік мов викликаний багатомовністю – з особливим акцентом на українській та німецькій мовах у 2017 та 2018 роках.

Зусилля на державному рівні є важливими. Проте принаймні так само важливим є те, чого може досягти громадянське суспільство у зв’язку з цим.
Висловлюється заклик до всіх – подумати і здійснити: що ми можемо зробити для кращого мовного порозуміння у нашому безпосередньому оточенні? Які ідеї є у вас для поширення відповідно української й німецької мов в обох країнах. Які акції, заходи і проекти ви можете замислити і реалізувати – без державної підтримки і децентралізовано?

Рік мов триватиме протягом 2017-2018 року та включатиме понад 50 культурних подій. Основними тематичними напрямами стануть: популяризація німецької мови серед молодих українців, для яких це може відкрити кар’єрні перспективи; підтримка історичної пам’яті відносно історії двох народів заради майбутнього; українсько-німецький літературний діалог. Упродовж цього часу саме мова та література стануть платформами для передачі сучасної культури, освітніх стандартів і європейських цінностей.

Ініціатором заходу виступив Німецький культурний центр «Goethe-Institut» при Посольстві Федеративної Республіки Німеччина в Україні.


In September, the official start of the German-Uk
rainian languages took place. This initiative of the two ministries of foreign affairs, Education Ministries, Education Ministries and other public institutions is aimed at the entire population.
The aim of the German-Ukrainian languages year is to develop existing cooperation between educational and cultural institutions in the two countries and to initiate new long-term partnerships and projects. The common activities are to be made visible in the general public. The Joint German-Ukrainian language year is committed to multilingualism – with particular focus in 2017 and 2018 on the Ukrainian and German language.
The Government’s efforts are important. However, at least as important is what civil society can put on its feet in this context.


Everyone is called to mind and to realize. What can we do for better language communication in our immediate surroundings? What ideas do you have, for the spread of the German and Ukrainian language in both countries? What actions, actions, projects can be designed and implemented by themselves – without state support and decentralised?



September 1st, Day of Knowledge in Ukraine!

Дата: Вер-1-2017
Категорія: Блог

On September 1st Ukraine is celebrating Day of Knowledge. This year more than 416 thousand Ukrainian boys and girls will begin their “knowledge journey”. Schooling is greatly encouraged in Ukraine. Primary school net enrollment is about 97%. Literacy (people age 15 and over can read and write) rate in Ukraine is 99,7%. Most people have higher education, some even two. People value education! They say here that “knowledge is power” (in Latin “scientia potentia est”). That’s why Day of Knowledge is a special day for Ukrainians.

In all the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries new academic year starts on this day. Every student, from first-grader to future college graduate starts a new school year. There is a tradition for a first-grader to “ring the first school bell”. On September 1st, 11th grader, a young guy, picks up a little girl and puts her on a shoulder, and walks, making a circle in front of all the students/pupils of a school. A first-grader rings the bell. In schools there is a bell ringing, signaling start or end of lessons. So, first bell ringing on September 1st symbolizes beginning of a new school year for first graders, and everybody who steps into a new academic year.

It’s a very exciting time for many children and their parents. Every school usually has a ceremony in a school yard. People give flowers to teachers, and beautiful speeches are said.

September 1st morning is a very special time for everyone. For some it’s a first day at school, for some it’s the first day of the last high school year or college year, and for others it’s the worst day of the year- summer break is over, fun is over, back to strict schedule and lots of homework. No matter how they feel about it, everybody attends school on September 1. Usually there are not many classes on this day, except for higher education institutions, where there are several classes. Students get informed about new school year curriculum, and get homework. In the evening students usually celebrate Day of Knowledge with their friends.

Some schools have a dress code- white top, black bottom. Most of these girls have white blouses and black skirts.
Back in Soviet times the first class on September 1st was so called lesson of peace. Kids learned about World War II (1 September 1939 – 2 September 1945), and amount of loss for Soviet Union. Teachers would tell them about USSR been a peace loving state (which was a Soviet propaganda of course), and how everybody should be a patriot of their Motherland. By the way, Day of Knowledge became an official holiday in Soviet Union in 1984.

After Soviet Union collapsed post-soviet countries kept celebrating Day of Knowledge on September 1st. It is still an official holiday in Ukraine. Parents’ employers are encouraged to give a day off to those parents whose kids go to school on this day.

This year on September 1st, together with school bells, all the church bells around Ukraine will be ringing.

Our Ukrainian Language and Culture School http://learn-ukrainian.org.ua offers
* Intensive courses in Lviv (two week course every month, three hours per day)
* Private lessons (the program and the number of lessons you can agree)
* Skype tutoring (any convenient time for you)

We are happy to work with our students over 14 years offering them in particular our private programs. We have successfully organized over 90 intensive courses hosting students from over 28 countries.

We are proud of the students we had the great honor to work with, in particular the ambassador of EU, the ambassador of Finland in Ukraine, the consuls of Germany, Austria, President of Danish Business Association in Ukraine, Peace Corps volunteers, Fulbright scholars as well as the other interesting people.
Our two-week Ukrainian intensive course“Ukrainian Autumn in Lviv meet the ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) requirements with a focus on communications skills. The courses also mix language learning with unique Ukrainian traditions.
We offer three levels of learning: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. An entry test helps us to check your knowledge.
Our lecturers come from the best Ukrainian universities and from renown universities abroad. Each of them have proven teaching experience to both foreigners and native speakers.
The study program improved over the course of several years, honed to an effective and easy approach for students. The program is flexible depending on each student’s level and individual goals. It It includes the development of your speaking, writing, reading and listening skills.
To apply Please, fill in the application form here
Not yet convinced? Try it yourself! 🙂



I have never been to Ukraine before so I look forward to going to my parents’ “ridna zemlya”

Дата: Тра-25-2017
Категорія: Блог

“…my parents came to Australia in 1950 after being in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany.
I was born later in a small Australian town so I could only speak Ukrainian at home with my parents. I have never been to Ukraine before so I look forward to going to my parents’ “ridna zemlya” and meeting you and others at the language school.” – such a touching e-mail we have received and decided to write more about this interesting person.

We are happy to introduce you our new student – Andrew Pyrcz from Melbourne, Australia.
Being a teacher of Japanese and English Andrew decided to learn Ukrainian with our Ukrainian Language and Culture School learn-ukrainian.org.ua. He applied for the 2-week intensive course of Ukrainian language and culture “Warm September in Lviv” August, 28 – September, 8 2017. With the aim to be very well prepared for the course he is taking private lessons by Skype now.
Andrew is very open sincere person that is why he was so kind to share the story of his Ukrainian roots with us:
“I’m Andrew, an Australian of Ukrainian descent (закордонний Українець!). This year, I will travel to Ukraine in order to attend the ‘warm September’ intensive course at the Ukrainian Language and Culture School in Lviv. In fact, this will be my maiden trip to my parents’ – and ancestors’ – native land.

Born in Halychyna (Yaroslav), my father actively supported the Ukrainian nationalist liberation struggle of OUN-UPA. My mother, on the other hand, was born in Novohrad-Volynskyi (also the birthplace of Lesya Ukrainka!) and survived the Holodomor as a young girl. When the Nazis invaded Ukraine in World War 2, my parents ended up as ‘Ostarbeiter’ in Germany. After the war finished, they met for the first time in a Displaced Persons’ (DP) camp in the American-controlled zone of Germany. Because they didn’t want to live under the system of imperialistic Soviet Russian communist rule, my parents decided to migrate to Australia from Germany in 1950. Thus it was my destiny to be born later in the quiet country town of Benalla. However, my parents never forgot their native land and culture and always spoke in Ukrainian at home.
Soon, I will prepare for the long, emotional journey back to the land where all my family history originated – Україна”.
Andrew is a very interesting person, his hobby is box, playing trumpet, and history of Ukraine. He have written articles entitled “Stalin and Ukraine’s ‘Holodomor’ 1932-33”, “Hetman Mazepa and the Battle of Poltava 1709”, “The Ukrainian Revolution 1917-21”.
Dear Andrew, you are welcome to Ukraine, the land of your parents!