- Posted January 21, 2013 by
The end of Ukrainian carnival in Bukovyna
On 20th of January thousands people came to the Chernivtsi skansen (a museum of folk architecture) to say goodbye to the funniest calender holiday in Ukraine – Malanka. Groups of young men from different villages and towns of Western Ukraine sang carols and showed dances of “riders” and “bears” and – of course – Malanka's dance.
The celebration of Malanca survived even in hard Soviet time and now is one of the most popular holidays in Western Ukraine (pro-Russian eastern part of the country doesn't celebrate this day).
It’s difficult to give Malanka a proper definition — it’s a sort of performance, it’s a festival of folk humour and spontaneous jesting with ancient rituals parts. Malanka is mostly a rural feast but lately it has begun to make inroads into cities in Chernivtsi and Ternopil region as well. The name of the feast derived from the feast day of St Malania the Roman Martyr. But it was an ancient pagan holiday of uncertain origin which was “adjusted” to the Christian ritual.
Sometimes Malanka is also called Pereberia. The participants and spectators let themselves go — but there is never any violence or “violations of public order” . The role of Malanka is usually played by a witty young man of a cheerful disposition in a folk woman's costume. She often has a broom in the hand – to sweep away all bad things that happened last year.
Many boys make their costume out of old army uniform – they decorated it with necklaces, artificial flowers and small looking-glasses.
Preparations for the Malanka celebrations begin long before the actual date. Costumes and accessories have to be made and it may take quite some time to do it.
Many Malanka's groups performs wild riders dances – the weight of the “horse” is near 30 kg, but young boys dance with it for many hours without fatigue.