Ukrainian Weddings

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Traditional Ukrainian weddings take place in churches (in Ukrainian - Vinchannya). The bride is in white and the groom is in black. In the Ukrainian villages wedding celebrations are known to continue for days or even during the whole week. Wedding parties are accompanied by lively music and dancing, playing games, lots of drinking and eating.

Some particular Ukrainian wedding customs include:


  • Before the wedding, the groom goes with his friends (Svaty) to the bride's house and bargains with "money' to get a bride from her family. In Ukrainian it's called "Svatannya".

  • In the bride's house Svatý should not sit down, drink or eat (if they sit down - children of the couple will start walking late, if they drink - children will be alcoholics, if they eat - children will suffer from gluttony).

  • When leaving the church, the bride and relatives carry baskets of candies, sweets and coins to throw to children and guests.

  • The groom carries the bride down any stairs.

  • During the wedding party the bride throws her wedding bouquet (she has to be with her back to the girls lined up to catch it) and the girl who catches it first will likely be the next one to marry.

  • You can not have your wedding on Wednesdays, or Fridays, as these are fasting days, nor in May, because you'll not be happy all your life!ua 3

  • Rushnyk (embroidered towel) at the wedding is a symbol of unity and happiness of inseparable marriage. The bride had to embroider this towel during long lonely evenings before her marriage.

  • By tradition, parents of newlywed meet them with a loaf of bread (called korovai) on rushnyk (a towel). The bride and the groom must bite off a piece of this bread without touching it with hands. It is believed that the one who's bitten off the bigger piece, will be the head of the family.

  • During the wedding parties guests shout "Hirko!" (bitter). That means the couple should kiss each other. This custom has a long history. Previously the bride had to come to each guest with the tray and the guest had to put money on it, then had to take a glass, drink out of it and say: "Bitter!", confirming that the drink was vodka, not water. Then he kissed the bride. Those who just drank, saying "bitter" but not giving the money, didn't have the right to kiss and have been just watching others' kissing. Gradually, this custom has changed, so the guests are shouting "hirko" - "bitter" asking the newlyweds to kiss.

If you are invited to the wedding in Ukraine, you should know that: 

  • You can not bring red roses.
  • You can not give forks, spoons, or knives as a present.
  • You can not give underclothes as a present.
  • You can not wear black clothes.
  • You can not cross the road in front of the bride and the groom when they go to the registry office, or church.
  • You can not wash the dishes during, or after, the wedding party.

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