The culture of Ukraine is unique and diverse, which is reflected in its architecture, music and art. Folk culture is fundamental and basic for the Ukrainian national culture.
Ukrainian professional science, literature and art has been formed on it gradually. The originality of Ukrainian culture has been defined by the influence of geographical conditions, peculiarities of the historical process, as well as interaction with other ethnic cultures. An important historical stage of Ukrainian culture was the adoption of Christianity in the 10th century.
Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Christianity, which is the dominant religion in the country (Orthodox Christianity). The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the largest in the country. Eastern Catholicism is the second most widely practiced religion in Ukraine. Protestantism and Judaism are also well represented in the country.
Gender roles tend to be more traditional in Ukraine than in the West. Grandparents play a great role in raising children.
Food is an important part of Ukrainian culture. Ukrainian cuisine has developed over many centuries. Ukrainian cuisine was mainly based on the products obtained from farming. Ukrainians have been growing rye, wheat, barley, buckwheat and oats. Oats and barley were dominant in Carpathian villages. In southern areas, Podnistrovyi and in the eastern Carpathians corn was widespread.
Best-known Ukrainian dishes:
- Salo (salted pork fat with, or without garlic and pepper)
- Borshch (cabbage and beets based soup, usually with pork or beef meat, served with sour-cream)
- Pampushky (small baked breads, often buttered and topped with garlic and dill)
- Holubtsi (cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and minced meat)
- Varenyky (large stuffed dumplings, can be stuffed with potatoes, cottage cheese, curds, meat, berries, etc.)
- Nalysnyky (very thin pancakes)
- Syrnyky (fried cheese pancakes, usually served with sour cream, honey, or jam)
- Kisto, tisto or rizanka (home-made spaghetti)
- Holodets' or studen' (meat (beef, or pork) aspic, prepared with garlic, onion, bay leaf and black pepper)
Vegetables play an important role in the Ukrainian sustenance, such as potatoes, cabbage, beets, onions, garlic, cucumbers, legumes (beans, peas, and in the Carpathian villages - beans).
An average Ukrainian diet consists of potatoes, pasta, different types of kasha (porridge), fish, cheeses and a variety of sausages. Hard cheese (syr) is quite popular in Ukraine as well as kovbasa (sausage). Typically bread is a core part of every meal, and must be included for the meal to be "complete", even if it's pasta or varenyky. A respectful attitude to bread has been passed down through generations. It has occupied a huge part in many Ukrainian customs and rituals, symbolizing prosperity, hospitality and kindness. Ukrainians have been meeting dear relatives and guests with bread and salt. Bread has been brought to the house with the newborn. Young couples have been coming into a marriage with bread and salt.