Katya Bochynska, 15, Kalush

Hello, everybody! My name is Kate Bochynska. Ukraine is my native country. I live in the little town of Kalush, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast. I have already lived here 15 years since my birth. My teacher invited me to participate and I gladly agreed because I think that Ukraine is one of the most interesting countries in the world and I’m proud of it.

Tuesday, the thirteenth of December, isn’t a usual day for Ukrainians, especially for western ones. It should be admitted that the West and East of Ukraine has different traditions and customs, but probably it is more interesting for foreigners to visit our country and get to know about different culture of different parts of Ukraine. To tell the truth, Ukrainian people are very sincere, sociable and open, we are proud of our culture, which has been forming for many centuries, that is why I am glad to tell you why this day is special for us.

If you’d like to recognize our culture, the 13th of December is suitable day for you. We celebrate the Day of the Holy Apostle Andrew. Perhaps it seems so boring, but it is only at first view. You will be excited if you visit this holiday with all its rituals. Of course, the main event of the day is divination for girls who believe in its truth. As a rule a lot of young girls make a divination by their future husbands or families, less by their future success. I must say, that not every religion allows making these rituals, because every divination is communication with hereafter. Also it is only one day a year when boys can damage their neighborhoods. All this traditions have been kept for centuries in Ukrainian villages and in towns they change little.

My day began as usual but since morning I knew, that I would have a charmed night. I did all morning things and went to the Grammar School with my friend Tanya. In my Grammar School we only remembered the day before. In the circumstances we had to celebrate this event earlier. There was only a little contest of Ukrainian costumes and carols, without any divination or other rituals in the Grammar School, to tell the truth, it wasn’t very interesting. As a rule I have mashed potato with a salad for my dinner, but I ate my favorite Ukrainian dish called varenyky today. In our canteen it was ‘The Dish of the Day’. Fortunately my working time was easy today, although I had a pair of algebra, which I don’t like. Our teachers were in good mood that’s why we had not any tests. After the Grammar School I went home, changed my uniform to usual clothes and went to the District House of Culture and was there till late. My friend and I celebrated this interesting holiday there. We tried to do everything with all rules. I consider, if you see those rituals you will want to do it yourself.

At first, we were in Ukrainian costumes; every girl wore an embroidered shirt and had a ribbon in her spit. There were no boys and about twenty girls in the building. The main hall (we spent all evening there) was dark, and there were only candles on the tables. First, I was afraid of this mystical atmosphere, but then I even liked it. I’d like to tell you more details about divination. The first one was made by girls who wanted to know when they will marry. There were five plates in the table and only under one of them was a ring. If you find the ring under first plate you will marry this year, under second one you will marry next year, etc. In the second divination every girl took part. We had to go out and asked name of the first man who was walking nearby. It is believed, that your future husband will be so called, as that man. We spent a lot of time to find somebody in the street but in the end every girl has one name. When we began the third and the latest divination we could not continue it, because we heard an awful noise outside. We looked outside the window and saw that about fifteen boys were standing in the garden. They had iron pans and spoons in their hands; it was evident what noise we had heard. Three boys had torches with fire, which got street light. We even did not notice that it was about 11 p.m. That was why we decided to go home. Of course, every girl was conducted to the house. On the way to home we were laughing with stories how boys damage to their neighborhoods.

Even I could not imagine that my day will be so interesting. My mum said that she had seen excitement and happiness on my face. To cut the long story short my day was amazing. In my opinion no one country can boast of such ancient tradition as we can and you should see it for yourself.

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