KRASNOILSK, CHERNIVTSI OBLAST - Ukrainians like to end their winter festival season with a bang. Hence the folk celebration of Malanka, or the New Year, according to the old Julian calendar, on Jan. 13-14.
The name Malanka derives from St. Melania, a Roman saint. But many of the rituals performed during the celebrations are clearly of pagan origin. In Krasnoilsk, a city of 10,000 people close to the Romanian border, many residents take part in festivities. On the Jan. 13 New Year's Eve, they dress up and go from home to home caroling, wishing health and prosperity and collecting gifts and money.
The next morning, three main streets in the village send off a delegation of well-dressed representatives to the main square, where they compete in dancing. They walk towards their meeting point, singing a song in a dialect that combines Romanian, Russian and Ukrainian, and the meaning of which many of them don't even know.
Traditional costumes include gypsies with bears, kings and queens and old people, but costumes don't necesserily look anything like the original characters.
Bears, for example, can look like walking hay stacks, while gypsies might be wearing a suit of colorful ribbons. Modern-day performers also dress up as corrupt militia officers and special force troopers, prostitutes and sadistic doctors. Costumes are often heavy, so their owners sometimes stop and rest rolling in the snow. (Evheniy Maloletka)
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively public debate through the Disqus system. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. The Kyiv Post will ban flagrant violators. If you think that a comment or commentator should be banned, please flag the offending material.
Web links to Kyiv Post material are allowed provided that they contain a URL hyperlink to the
www.kyivpost.com material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. Otherwise, all materials
contained on this site are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced without the prior
written permission of Public Media at firstname.lastname@example.org
All information of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency placed on this web site is designed for internal
use only. Its reproduction or distribution in any form is prohibited without a written permission of