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The Holy Trinity traditions in Ukraine

June 4, 2017 at 8.45am by

Christians celebrate the day of the Holy Trinity as one of the main religious holidays. This holiday is celebrated annually on a different day, but it is always on the fiftieth day after Easter. The date of the holiday in 2017 is June, 4. The Holy Trinity completes the spring cycle of Orthodox Christian holidays. After that the fast and summer round of holidays begins. On this occasion, the Orthodox Trinity 2017 will be celebrated on a grand scale, folk festivals and the obligatory celebration of the revived nature.

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Historical background of the holiday

The day  of the Holy Trinity comes from those ancient times, when it was established by the apostles. Therefore, it has developed stable traditions that change not from time, but due to the place of celebration. From ancient times the Trinity begins with a solemn service. It was foreshadowed by the all-night vigil, lasting from the evening on the eve of the holiday. The worshipers glorified the day when the Holy Spirit descended to the apostles and the Virgin Mary, in order to commemorate the appearance of the triplicity of God. The apostles were struck by a blessed cleansing fire. It did not burn, but cleansed the soul and mind, filling the heart with awe and trembling and love. The descent of the Holy Spirit was predicted by Jesus Christ even before the tragic events that cut short his life’s path.

Trinity traditions and rituals

The main symbol of the Trinity for the Orthodox Slavs is the birch. Therefore, it has always been present in a house of a believer, like a Christmas tree on New Year’s Eve. On this holy day the floor of the church as well as at home was traditionally covered with freshly mown grass. This was believed to bring luck. Moreover, the birch branches were often placed near the iconostasis. In some regions, where birch did not grow, people used oak, viburnum, mountain ash or maple. Ukrainian women often made crowns of flowers and twigs to wear them on the holiday.

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On leaving the church after the solemn service Orthodox Christians always tried to bring some grass from the floor to their homes. Then, Ukrainian ladies hurried home to prepare a festive table for their family. The main dish was a freshly baked loaf of bread. It had to be round to symbolize the sun as well as eggs on Easter do.

On the Trinity evening it was traditional to sing songs, play games and dance. On this holiday people called guests, treated their friends and left the rest of the meal to those in need.

Trinity divinations

Ukrainian women truly love different kind of divinations. Every lady does this at least once in her life. On the oncoming of the Holy Trinity people went to the forest and decorated a chosen birch tree with bright ribbons. Ukrainian ladies found small birch trees and bound their top branches together. If on a Trinity day these trees remained together – this supposed to bring luck. If they were unbound or faded – it was a bad sign.

At the end of the day Ukrainian ladies put the flower wreaths onto the water surface of a river to tell the fortune. The direction the wreath flowed showed the place where the intended fiancé lived. If the coronal remained near the cost – that foretold the Ukrainian lady to remain a spinster. If the wreath drowned – nothing good may happen.

Modern rites

Moving from the suburbs to the cities made people’s life busier and changed their working schedule. Less attention is paid nowadays to the ancient traditions. Though, some people still find an opportunity to go out of the city to nearby villages to spend the time with the other enthusiasts willing to keep old rites.

Be aware of Ukrainian traditions and don’t forget to greet your Ukrainian lady on the day. Then, she will definitely be pleased to know that you respect her culture and ancestry!

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