Tie the Knot in a Ukrainian Style

After going down on one knee a man says: Will you marry me? On hearing yes, he puts a ring on her finger and since the moment they are engaged or affianced. Unlike the Uk ,where a woman can propose to a man on a particular day (29, February) and a man can not reject a proposal, there is no such a tradition in Ukraine.

Modern trends in Ukrainian wedding fashion more often tend to resemble a real Ukrainian wedding ritual: Ukrainian embroidered clothes, matchmakers, embroidered towels, celebration customs. Wedding ceremony is one of the greatest events in Ukrainian culture. The basis of these rituals is Christianity, so from age to age these traditions were kept unchanged. According to religious beliefs there can not be a wedding ceremony in a leap year.

Since the engagement a girl wears an engagement ring on a ring finger of the right hand in Ukraine and the left hand in Europe. Traditionally the engagement ring is decorated with diamonds or other gemstones, which is different from the wedding ring or wedding band to be exchanged in a church. An engaged girl is called a fiancée and a man - a fiancé.

Wedding witnesses are more often bride’s and groom’s godfathers.The wedding witnesses spend the entire ceremony. They hold the icons of the Virgin Mary and Jesus at church. These icons arebrought into a new house, where they become a symbol of spiritual unity.

A couple can not wed without parents’ blessing. Nowadays the blessing happens either on a day of engagement or on a wedding day in a bride’s house.

The bride and groom step on the embroidered towel and wedding witnessesholdthe icons, wrapped in gold-embroidered towels. Parents bless the couple, wishing them a long, happy, healthy and prosperous married life. The symbol of the new family is the wedding cakeheld by parents.
Bride’s dressing up ceremony occurs in the morning of a wedding day. Flowers symbolizingvirtue, purity and luck are woven in bride’s hair. The hair is dressed in a form of a crown and a wreath with a veil is put on the hairdo.

A bride and groom come into the church hand in hand while a Ukrainian song sounds. Before entering the church, both would-be spouses tell the priest that decision is voluntary, with which words the ritual begins.

Then the priest sanctifies wedding rings and puts them on the bride’ s and groom's fingers of the right hand. In front of the altar the embroidered towel - a symbol of prosperity is spread. Later this towel is used in the households for home icons’ decoration or for an Easter basket. During the wedding ceremony there arecertain obligatory rituals : tying hands, drinking from a joint cup, candles, putting on a crown and a wreath. Parents givethe gifts for the new family: bread, salt and honey.

The wedding cake used to be baked by all the women in the village.It is always decorated with two pigeons - a couple, pine cones - fertility, and other decorations. In the center of the bread is placed the tree of life. The wedding cake is put on the embroidered towel in the centre of a table.

Maid of honour or a bride’s maid - the closest unmarried bride’s friendwho is honoured to be with a bride on this solemn day. Flower girl - is a girl who accompanies a bride and holds a bouquet of flowers. Best man or a groomsmanis a close groom’s friend or relative. And here are the words of wedding vows: I, (name), take you, (name), to be my (husband / wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
The ceremony of removing a veil at the end of a wedding is the most affecting moment. Since this moment a wedded woman can not wear a wreath. On the day after the wedding the groom’s and bride’s parents treat all guests to the holiday dinner. So they congratulate theweddedon their first ay of marriage. This tradition continues up to this day.

Finally, a couple set off for their honeymoon. They live happily until death does them part .

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