Maria Shostak, Kyiv

A Day in the Life of Ukraine

Have you ever woken up with the thought of getting to know the name of your future husband? I bet you have never done things like that because it may happen only on the 13th of December and only in Ukraine!

13th of December is celebrated in Ukraine as St Andrew’s Day. Early Christian history holds that the apostle Andrew is said to have preached along the Black Sea. According to the legend, he travelled up the Dnipro River and reached the future location of Kyiv. St Andrew was the one who prophesied the foundation of a great Christian city where I currently live.

However, in Ukraine the holiday is associated more with magic than religion. Many interesting old pre-Christian traditions connected with courtship and marriage are still alive and followed by a great number of Ukrainians, including me.

I usually wake up at 7 a.m. as I’ve got classes that start at 8 a.m. this term. My alarm clock is probably tired of hearing me complain about having to get up so early every morning. But this time my time-manager was definitely surprised to see me smiling and looking carefully for something under my pillow.

With my eyes closed, I drew out a little piece of paper with the name Vadym on it. “What could this mean? Was Vadym really that special boy who I was destined to meet?” This was the first thought that crossed my mind. In few seconds I began laughing at myself because I recollected that I had never known any Vadyms in my life.

After imagining my imaginary husband, I eventually remembered about reality and my lecture in History of International Economic Relations. So I brought myself up quickly and went to meet my friends to share the first impressions of this very special day in the life of Ukraine.

The girls were extremely excited. I could see the spark of interest in their eyes as I appeared. Everybody was eager to find out the names of our dear husbands. We laughed a lot and made up crazy stories about meeting our beloved future spouses. It was much fun.

Only boys could not understand our joy. They were totally confused to see us giggling shyly and looking secretly into their side. The lecture in History of International Relations was a mess. Everybody was doing everything else possible in the world other than writing down what the teacher was telling. The next two classes passed the same way.

Then my friends and I decided to walk a little bit in the center of the city. We went to the St Andrew’s Arch which is situated on the Square of Independence in Kyiv. Stepping under the roof of the arch, we asked for our wishes and dreams to come true. We found it very symbolic because St Andrew is the defender of the city.

Afterwards, everybody went home his own way, full of thoughts and expectations for the miracle. And who knows, maybe Vadym is really to become my husband in the future and all our wishes will become reality some day…

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