Posts in Traditions
My year in Ukraine in photos

One year ago I flew from Ukraine to Canada. I purposely don’t say “flew home” because I don’t necessarily see Canada as my home. Well, it is one of my homes — it’s just not the only one, and saying “I flew home” implies that Ukraine wasn’t my home, which it most certainly was.

When I moved to Ukraine, I’d get these flashes of feelings from Canada, the most common instigator being when I saw someone in Ukraine who looked like a Canadian friend.

Maybe I was still adjusting to being so far from what I had known as home for all my life, and so I was looking for something to bring me comfort. This lasted a month, maybe two. And before you knew it, I would see Ukrainians who looked like other Ukrainians I had met in the city before.

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Training with Ukraine's top folk dance ensembles: The 'Best of' list

Dance festival season is upon us.

It’s a time of year that has dancers practising their combos under their desks at school, costume coordinators working day in and day out making their volunteer position feel more like a full-time job, and instructors and choreographers feeling excited and nervous and stressed and proud and tired and energized — just so many feelings.

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Why I glare at you when you whistle indoors: A guide to Ukrainian superstitions

I have a few friends who said their babas warned them to never whistle indoors, and as kids, they thought it was just because their grandmothers thought they were annoying.

But lo and behold, there’s more to it.

There’s a belief among Ukrainians (and other cultures) that if you whistle while indoors, you’ll bring upon yourself bad luck and lack of wealth.

That’s why you’ll see me stop myself mid-pucker if I hear a catchy tune indoors, instead resorting to singing or humming. It’s also why I may glare at you (or perhaps look away to pretend it’s not happening) when you whistle near me and we are clearly inside.

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English magazine in Ukraine What's On Kyiv

Since October, I've been writing for What's On Kyiv, an English magazine about Ukraine based in Kyiv. Since this was only my second time in Ukraine, the idea for my WO column was to give a Canadian's take on the Ukrainian lifestyle.

Click the headlines in the post to read the full stories.

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Easter in Ukraine

People jump up at a willow tree in a public square, grabbing low hanging branches to be blessed in church.

A boy laughs and runs around his grandma, trying to hit his dad with pussy willows.

Hundreds of people gather, ladies with their heads covered in scarves, waiting for their turn to go into church.

These are just a few scenes from Easter in Ukraine. I saw some Easter celebrations in Lutsk, like Palm Sunday and a large pysanky display, but I went to Lviv for Orthodox Easter weekend (April 7 to 9). Cobblestone Freeway Tours had a couple things planned for us girls, and my parents joined too.

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Malanka in Vashkivtsi and Chernivtsi

The time was 9:30 a.m. The place was the side of the road outside the village Vashkivtsi. The obstacle was a group of people in costumes blocking our van, demanding money.

We obliged, they threw wheat in our van for good luck, we got out of the van for a shot of horilka (vodka), then we carried on.

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Christmas in the Carpathians

After weeks of festivities, the holiday season is officially over in Ukraine.

My celebrations started with St. Andrews Day (Dec. 13) at Shevchenkivs'kyi Hai and ended with the feast of Epiphany/Jordan (Jan. 19) at a new dance friend's home with her family.

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A not-so-traditional Christmas

Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday season was full of health and happiness, and if you're still celebrating (like us Ukrainians), may your stamina be strong (Old New Years is today, but the celebrations aren't done yet!).

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St. Andrews Day and other traditions in Lviv

Happy St. Nicholas Day! (Or happy belated St. Nicholas Day to all those back home in the west who celebrate it on Dec. 9.)

Lviv is alive with the holiday spirit. The snow here may come and go (last week it was 4 C and rainy just about every day, but this week we're back to the minuses), but that doesn't mean the feeling of Christmas and New Years isn't here. The streets are decorated, the Christmas markets are full of gifts, and the skating rink in Rynok Square is open.

I've heard stories of how special it is to spend the holidays in Ukraine Lviv in particular and I'm so thankful to experience it for myself. Last week, I took part in folk celebrations on the eve of St. Andrews Day, a day full of jokes, games, and fortune telling.

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