Welcome to a traditional Ukrainian wedding festival, Carpathian style.
In the Western mountainous region of Ukraine, villagers went great lengths to celebrate their weddings according to tradition. The process of dressing up the young couples was done according to strict rules and takes several hours as Maria Ivonyuk explains.
“The bride must have a traditional headcover, and the entire head is covered with flowers. These are also ribbons hanging from the head decoration. Also, various jewelry. This shirt has been preserved from ancient times and of course, the bridal gown needs a belt and skirt,” Wedding Festival participant Maria Ivoniuk said.
The bride’s necklace must be made from coral, crosses and coins. There is no room for a fashion ‘faux pas’ concerning the groom either.
“The groom must have a hat on his head, he cannot be without a hat. He must be dressed in a shirt with embroidery, a vest made of wool, belt and shirt above the pants and boots. This is how the groom is expected to dress,” Ivoniuk said.
Each village has its own traditional costumes. For instance, brides from the village of Velykyi Kliuch are recognized by their voluminous fluffy head decorations made from goose feathers.
“It takes about two months to create such accessory if you work every day. Feathers should only be from goose because duck feathers have yellowish colors and do not lie down so beautifully in a flower,” Wedding Festival participant Myroslava Vorotniak said.
Wedding festivities in the local villages usually take place in large tents that are erected for the celebrations. The entrance is decorated with flowers and pine branches.
“I myself got married in such a tent. For me, this is a very exciting moment. When they said they wanted to renew the traditions, I was one of the first to join. Once, it was the event of the whole village, one might say,” Obertyn resident Liudmyla Franiuk said.
That kind of event is an important feature of Ukrainian culture according to Head of the Culture Department of Tlumansky State Administration, Halina Pernko.
“The Ukrainian wedding was a theatrical performance, directed by the people themselves and the people were good directors. Everything was thought out. This was not only fun, here was energy encoded that gives impetus to a good and beautiful event. Unfortunately, we are losing this tradition and we want to revive it,” Pernko said.
Hundreds of visitors attended this year’s Wedding Festival held in Obertyn, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, and the organizers see it as a good omen to revive the unique traditions of the region.