In order to understand the character of Ukrainian woman, one must first learn about Ukrainian folklore, and secondly about folk rituals, customs or rituals. Moreover, this is the unique cultural layer where you can find not only information about agriculture, the beauty of nature and winged sentiments, but also about noble deeds, strong women who are able to put things in order not only in the house, but also in society.
HISTORY OF FORMATION
It turns out that earlier it was the old and experienced women who were holding the council, and, therefore, guided the life of the public, while older men were left to protect the garden, that is to be adrift! So, unlike patriarchal systems in other countries, where the decisions were always taken by man, in the Ukrainian family this right always belonged to the oldest woman.
Even more surprising is the existence of a special “women’s holiday,” which was very peculiarly celebrated on February 24. On this day, women had fun in the tavern. It was called “soak the cows to make them gentle.” Scientists and culture experts admit that women drank to defend their independence in the patriarchal world. Returning home a little drunk, wives beat their husbands (even if not too much, only to maintain the tradition), so that they were gentle with their wives. The ox also experienced some beating that day — to make them obedient to their masters.
In Ukraine (unlike Russia) there was no stereotype of a “drinking husband”, who beats his wife when he is drunk. On the contrary, returning home from the tavern the Ukrainian husband “lowered the forelock,” because he knew that he would be dragged by his wife, who was waiting “at the gates wearing red boots.”
The rite of “pulling of wooden block” is also unique in its form and symbolism. The rite was established and conducted by women. When an illegitimate child was born in the village, the women went to the father of this child, dragged him out of the hut, no matter how hard he resisted; they put a wooden block wrapped in a diaper in his hands and escorted him through all the village to the house of the girl put to shame. There another wooden block was tied to his legs, and the man was forced to bow to the disgraced girl and kiss the child.
The man did not have the right to remove the block until the next day and could do it only having made a good gift to the child. The rite of “pulling of wooden block” was widely performed throughout Ukraine until the half of the 19th century. It had no analogues among other nations. On the contrary, for many peoples, for example Caucasian nationalities, the girl who gave birth to the baby and was not married, caused indelible disgrace not only for herself, but for the whole family. She was being stoned, often to death. The very fact of punishment of the father of illegitimate child is explained precisely by the predominant position of Ukrainian women.
GET MARRIED? I WILL BUT ON MONDAY I HAVE A DAY OFF!
Before giving her consent to a marriage, the girl asked her fiancé: “Will you allow me to monday?” If the groom did not agree, the girl had the right to refuse, that is to say, despite even the parental blessing. If the groom agreed, but then did not fulfill his promise, his wife had the right to cancel the marriage (and such facts are known). I want to stress that at that time such behavior was impossible for women in Russia, Europe, not to mention the eastern countries.
What did this agreement mean? Once a week, namely on Monday, the young wife had the right to leave the house for the whole day, not asking anyone for permission. That day it was husband who had to do all the household work, so Monday was almost the most difficult day for him. Since then they say: “Monday is a hard day.”
This custom was very necessary for young women. It facilitated the transition of the girl to married life. On Mondays, young women gathered together, rested, shared secrets, especially in the field of intimate life, had fun. Here, neither husbands nor mothers-in-law could disturb them, because the ritual law strictly forbade it.
So, the rites of “giving garbage”, “sending matchmakers”, “mondaying” and the right of a woman to dissolve the marriage demonstrate equal rights between husband and wife, which once again emphasizes the high social status of women in Ukrainian society.
SEXUALITY — NATIONAL FEATURE OF UKRAINIAN WOMAN
The rituals of collecting herbs were also interesting. The best herbs were those that were collected before sunrise, before the dewfall. The women went to distant places where “the rooster’s singing and the dog’s barking were not heard,” undressed, said special prayers, and only after that they started their work. Leaves and root were torn not with bare hands, but through the canvas. Before tearing the herbs, they said: “Become to help us.” The best herbs were collected during the holidays of Simon and Zealot — May 23 — and Ivana Kupala.