Ukrainian Traditions: Everything You Need to Know About Malanka
Malanka is a Ukrainian folk holiday celebrated on January 13th, which is New Year’s Eve in accordance with the Julian calendar. Malanka commemorates the feast day of St. Melania. In Ukraine the celebrations vary from city to city but often features masquerade plays and can get quite bizarre. People gather and go house-to-house playing pranks or acting out small plays.
Malanka is rich in ancient ritual, folklore, and magic. The ancestors of Ukrainians believed that on New Year’s Eve, good and evil spirits descended on the earth. In order to ward of evil before the new year, the night was spent dancing, partaking in ritualistic meals, fortune telling, casting of spells, and singing carols of well wishes.
The winter festival of Malanka is known to cap the festivities of Ukrainian Christmas holidays, and is often the last opportunity for celebrating before the solemn period of Lent.
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