Ukraine Local Customs

  • Don't walk into the Tom Cruise one by mistake!
    Don't walk into the Tom Cruise one by...
    by ainsleigh
  • Thousands gather in Lviv for Christmas festivities
    Thousands gather in Lviv for Christmas...
    by ainsleigh
  • Local Customs
    by Pomocub

Ukraine Local Customs

  • Watermalons!

    Watermelons are almost as much an iconic symbol of Ukraine as the national sunflower!They are available for sale all over the place during August, beside the side of the road in the countryside, & from the sidewalk in town...During my original visit to 0dessa, I thought I would use the watermelon stall on the corner of the street where I was...

  • Fiddler on the Roof...

    The famous musical, Fiddler on the Roof, is set in the village of Boyberik, (outside the town of Boyarka, itself situated not far from Kiev...)Although the cast, featuring the poor milkman, Tevye, & his 6 eligible daughters, are Jewish, & so would have spoken Yiddish amongst themselves, with Russian or Ukrainian for neighbours...The iconic scene...

  • Ukrainian Democracy...

    The Ukrainian parliamnet is called the High or Supreme Council - Verkhovna Rada, & meets in the building of that name, in Kiev...Ukraine's parliament was first established during the Soviet-era, in 1938(Contrary to popular myth, the Soviet Union did have an election system, same as other nations, only those to be elected had to be approved members...

  • Ukraine's 0wn Willy Wonka?

    Unlikely as it might sound, the present vicious civil unrest which ignited in Ukraine in early 2014, has its origins in a trade dispute over chocolate...Petro Poroshenko was born in Bolhrad (0dessa 0bl'ast) 26th September 1965He was raised in Vinnitsya & Bendery, in the disputed Transnistria area, before graduating in economics at Kiev State...

  • Flowers...

    Ukrainians love their flowers, & love to give them as a gift - some florists are trading 24 hours!Those who live in the countryside, or who have a balcony with their apartment, will make a point of growing their own...If you're visiting someone in Ukraine, as a guest, never give an uneven number of blooms in a bouquet - this is considered bad...

  • True Colours...

    As a result of the political tensions in Ukraine, those who wish to emphasise that their homeland is a separate state from Russia, are giving civic architecture a colourful makeover...The Ukrainian landscape already demonstrates national identity, with the blue & yellow of the repubic's flag in abundance, with the likes of bus stations & kiosks in...

  • You are what you wear?

    I now know that in Ukrainian culture, it's expected that 1 looks their best on ALL occasions!As a people, Ukrainians appear rather like cats with white fur - however much time they spend outside, they never seem to show the effect, & even labourers seem able to toil in the deep-puddled streets, without a splash of mud on their clothes...I read a...

  • Baggage Wrapping & Baggage Security

    Baggage wrapping seems to be really common in Ukraine. In Boryspil Airport almost every Ukrainian person that I saw had wrapped their baggage up. Maybe they do not trust airport baggage handlers? Personally, I have never had a problem with anyone accessing my baggage unlawfully while in Ukraine but I do always padlock my luggage as a precaution.

  • Ukrainian months...

    While in Ukraine, I was told by some Russian-speaking locals, that by learning this language, I would anyway know Ukrainian (!)(This is something of a touchy subject amongst Ukrainian nationalists, & at no time more so than the present, so perhaps I should not interject on this topic...)It certainly is not so, though some words are shared, or...

  • 'Kolbasa...'

    I was intending to include all my observations on 'Ukrainian cuisine', in my article of that title, but some aspects of this nation's dining culture warrant separate tips, such are they a part of the folk psyche & lifestyle...Eating sunflower seeds, while drinking tea, or vodka, are an everyday sight if you visit the country, but the aroma which...

  • Ruslana...

    Ruslana won the Eurovision Song Contest for Ukraine in 2004Ukraine has never won this competition before, or since - not surprising considering how dire some of their entries have been!Ruslana, however, was as worthy a Eurovision winner as their has ever been - I can still remember the Saturday evening I watched the event live on tv, & really, it...

  • Pysanka

    Pysanka / Pysanky (pl) is a type of painted egg which is decorated with wax. There is a Pysanky museum in the Western town of Kolommya (Kolomiya) which displays Pysanky from all over the world. Pysanky is sometimes left on the gravestones of loved ones and are a tradition throughout Ukraine. You can buy plastic Pysanky type souvenirs from most...

  • Lada

    The Lada is still the car of choice for most Ukrainians. As they originally come from Russia they are very easy and cheap to fix. Don't be surprised to see a lot of these all around Ukraine. Most taxis that you go in will also be Ladas.

  • Hitch Hiking

    Hitch hiking is quite common in Ukraine, particularly in rural areas. People will raise their arm as if they are signalling for a bus to stop. I hear that is reasonably safe in Ukraine but you should use your own common sense. It is the custom to agree before the journey if you are going to charge them money and how much.

  • What is 'the new Ukraine' (?)

    "VIKTOR YUSHENKO! What did he do for Ukraine? He did nothing for Ukraine!"This complaint is something I can count on recurring every time I visit Ukraine - & I have heard it repeated by most of those who speak English!The former PM is about as popular in Russian-speaking Ukraine as the serial killing cannibal, Anatoly 0noprenko...I am not someone...

  • Peesanka...

    To the uninitiated eye, 'peesanki' are brightly painted & intricately decorated, wooden or ceramic egg or ornaments, celebrating Easter...However, there is more to these folkloric eggs than mere decorative charm, because every pattern is unique & forms a visual code as to the regional origins of the artist...'pees' is the keyword from which...

  • Independence Day

    Ukraine's Independence Day is celebrated on 24th August with the 23rd August being the "Day of the national flag".Ukraine became independent in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.There are usually big celebrations on Independence Day which take place on Independence Square in central Kyiv.

  • Toilet facilities in rural Ukraine

    If you are planning to visit anyone in a rural area of Ukraine such as a village or if you are planning to go off to beaten track into a rural area I would always recommend that you take a small wash bag with toilet paper and toilet wipes. Most houses in rural Ukraine do not have what Western people would consider as 'toilets'. Some toilets are...

  • Spies, Smugglers, or Sex Tourists...

    Ukraine might lay on the European north of the Black Sea, from Turkey, but whereas its Islamic neighbour has embraced tourism & boosted its economy proportionately, 'the new Ukraine' lingers in a despairing dark age...Many Ukrainians have never travelled outside their own country & those that do venture abroad, seem to limit their travels to within...

  • Sunflowers...

    Sunflowers may be forever associated with Van Gogh, but they are the national flower of Ukraine, & appear everywhere in the country, turned into any type of decorative motif imaginable...Not only is the flower the symbol of Ukraine, but their seed is a national delicacy, & on any street corner can be witnessed folk, sharing a bagful of raw seed,...

  • Beekeeping...

    It's estimated that 1 in a 1000 Ukrainians are beekeepers, meaning that in the countryside at least, apiculture is very popular...This tradition has been celebrated over the decades in souvenir stamp sheets, the most attractive design being that of Kateryna Shtanko in 2001Depicted on the stamps are; a worker bee; a drone; a queen; a bee ('pchila')...

  • What's in a name?

    Ukraine, or '0o-kray-eena', to be phonetically correct, (as the actual Cyrillic 'u', is actually a unique letter that looks something like a keyhole...)'0o', (as the Cyrillic letter 'y' is properly pronounced), is in fact, the first letter of the country's name, & grammatically, is also a prepositional, meaning 'by'...'Kray', is a general word that...

  • 2 Christmases for the price of 1

    The traditional fir tree is the centrepiece of any Ukrainian or Russian home at this time of year, & are to be found for sale by street vendors all around the city, or at the roadside laybys, between urban areas...Winter Solstice - December 21st, is the traditional date for 'Dyed Maroz' (Grandfather Frost) to visit homes, with his sackful of toys &...

  • Chay...

    Ukrainians are great tea drinkers, an aspect of their culture they share with the Russians...Tea-brewing is of course a great art, & methods differ between the great tea consuming nations, such as China, India, & Russia, who are famous for the use of the 'samovar', which literally means 'self-boil'...The 'samovar' is often called a Russian tea urn,...

  • Giving Gifts

    If you ever get invited to a Ukrainian person's home it is polite to bring a small gift, it is even better if you are able to bring something from outside of Ukraine. Something special from your home town. If a gift is wrapped up Ukrainians do not usually open the gift in front of you, they will wait until you have left to open it. Also it is...

  • Ukraine in an emblem...

    The emblem of Ukraine is usually described as a 'trident', which it does resemble, because it bears 3 upward points...However, the 'treezoob', as it's called in Ukrainian, literally meaning '3teeth', is not the simple pichfork trident, but a much more intricate device, with unknown origins, but known to have existed as long as 2000 years ago...It...

  • Learn to read Cyrillic

    It is extremely useful to take the time to learn to read and write the Cyrillic alphabet especially if you're visiting Lviv and rural Ukraine. There are many situations we found Cyrillic essential: getting tickets and taking trains or public transportation, buying groceries in certain areas as most food is kept behind a counter, understanding all...

  • VODKA - the enemy!

    "Vodka is the enemy, so let's consume it entirely!"...This is 1 of the plethora of Russian-speaking idioms specific to the cultural addiction that is, as they say with correct stress on pronunciation; "VOT-ka"...I would suggest that this is the only culture in the world where euphisms & slang on the subject of sex, are out-numbered by those...

  • Renting a room - When a deal is DONE...

    There are many online agents offering accommodation throughout Ukraine, the only trouble being that the businessmen who run these are worldly wise & many of them are in anycase, not Ukrainian, but American or British, who bought up property in the country when it was still cheap... So, not only are their daily rents hyper-priced, but in many cases...

  • Petrol Stations & Toilets

    When taking a long journey through Ukraine it is important to know which petrol stations have the best toilet facilities as they van greatly vary especially if you are outside of the major cities. I have recently taken a 16 hour car journey from Kiev in Central Ukraine to Kolomyya/ Kolomiya in Western Ukraine and due to the poor roads at the minute...

  • Churches

    The interior of churches in Ukraine are very grand and well maintained. Even in the poorest of villages. The pictures attached to this tip were taken in a church in the village of Kniazhe, in the Sniatyn District of Ivano-Frankivsk. Ukrainian people are very religious and even more so in the small villages which are a million miles away from what...

  • Church Clothing

    People in Ukraine are very religious and they have very strict dress codes. Especially for women. Women must cover their heads before entering church. Usually unmarried women should tie the head scarf under the chin (see my picture) and married women usually tie the scarf behind their head/back of the neck. Short skirts must not be worn, Skirts...

  • Shoes off!

    Ukrainians will always take their shoes off when entering their or someone elses home. Always take your shoes off before entering a Ukrainian person's house unless they make a big fuss about you keeping them on. You don't want to appear rude.

  • Verenyky

    Verenyky is a popular dish in Ukraine. It is almost like Ravioli and you can have many different fillings but the most popular are meat, cottage cheese, potato and blueberries.The ones in the photograph are Cherry Verenyky and are my favourite kind (from the types I have tasted so far)

  • Our National Bard

    On March 9 Shevchenko Days are observed all over Ukraine. Taras Shevchenko is called the Bard of Ukraine. March 9 is his birthday. It is marked by concerts, exhibitions and shows all over Ukraine.This is what was written about our National Bard:DANTE OF UKRAINEShevchenko's Ukrainian poems ... instantly created a profound impression. In the history...

  • Ukrainian National Anthem

    Not everybody can say he or she understands the meaning of the Ukrainian National Anthem.So it might be interesting for you to know the translation of our National Anthem that is not always found on the web sites about Ukraine.This is the English version that is, to my opinion, very close to the original in its meaning:Ukrainian National AnthemShe...

  • Holidays in Ukraine

    This is to illustrate how many diferent holidays we have here.These are Ukrainian professional (and not only) holidays for a year. I hope it might be helpful to you when you arrive to the country and see some festivities or you might want to congratulate your colleagues or friends on this or that holiday. January : 22 – Ukrainian Unity Day;29 –...

  • More Information on Ukraine

    You can get more information on Ukraine at:'Ukraine-Rus' International Tourist Agency,office 310, 63 Melnikov St 04050 Kiev Ukraine. Tel/Fax +380 44 213 23 74, 213 05 12.Pictures of UkraineSome other tips might be useful for you, dear fellow travelers:How to greet people: say "dobryi den!" - 'Good afternoon' or "dObroho ranku!" - 'good...

  • Learn Ukrainian before you go to...

    Learn Ukrainian before you go to Ukraine otherwise you will face huge communication problems. We obviously knew that no one there would speak Greek (our native language) but, at least, we hoped that English would be our means of communication just like in all the other countries we go to. Unfortunately, nobody spoke English. Neither in the hotel,...

  • Ukraine The Motherland.

    Recording of the show on the Maydan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kyiv. This disc shows all Ukrainian : folk songs, orthodox prayers, dances. A lot of leading Ukrainian musicians took part on this recording. "Kyiv" chamber choir, "Dzvony" group, "Man Sound", "Lybid" trio, Nina Matvienko, Tajisiya Povaly, Ani Lorak.State Anthem Of Ukraine...

  • Lesya Ukrainka Russian Drama Theatre

    The Kyiv Russian theater with rich traditions. Major Kiev Russian theatre, established late in the last century. It has rich traditions and is often referred to as the "theatre of the human soul." Ticket prices : 6-20 Hrn. 5, B. Khmelnitskoho St., Kyiv

  • Kyiv State Theatre in Podol

    Retains the Renaissance tradition of the romantic theatre. An original formalistic approach is peculiar to its productions of both modern and classical playwrights. The sensational debut of the young theatre director Vitaliy Malakhov in 1978 with play A Tale About Monica on the stage of the Kyiv Russian Drama Theatre named after Lesia Ukrainka gave...

  • September

    1 - Day of Knowledge7- Entrepreneur's Day8 – Tankmen’s Day14 – Ukrainian Cinema Day15 – Forestry Workers' Day21 – Peace Day21 – Inventors' and Rationalizers' Day22 – Machine-builders' Day22 – Partisan Glory Day27 – Tourism Day

  • May

    9 - Victory Day;12 – Mother’s Day;25 – Publishing Workers, Polygraphists and Booksellers’ Day;26 – Chemist’s Day

  • October

    6 – Educators’ Day8 – Lawyer’s Day13 – Artist’s Day14 – Ukrainian Cossackdom Day20 – Food Industry Workers’ Day26 – Rescue Rangers’ Day27 – Motorists and Road-builders’ Day30 – Tax Officials' Day


Ukraine Hotels

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Ukraine Local Customs

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