Generous evening in Ukraine\!

Generous evening in Ukraine!

Thanks to the change of the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one, we got one more reason for merry New Year's festivities on the night of January 13-14 — the Old New Year (Malanki, Vasiliev evening, Generous evening). The tradition to celebrate this day appeared in 1918. I especially liked the fact that, unlike the traditional New Year's Eve, which falls on the strict Advent, you can cook a generous meal for a generous table and enjoy the kitchen and fun to the fullest.


Historical roots of the holiday

According to the Christian calendar, Malania the Roman is venerated on January 13, and St. Basil on January 14. In folk traditions, the holidays merged into one and embodied in a series of cheerful, reckless rituals. The tradition of dressing up, being generous, and sprinkling grain in houses originates in the ancient customs of Kievan Rus. The main characters of the Generous Evening — Melania and Vasily — became a free interpretation of the pagan gods Mokosh and Veles.



Mokosh in the ancient Slavic pantion is the goddess of fate, earthly fertility, the mediator between heaven and earth. She patronized women, helped women in childbirth, promoted all women's affairs, crafts (especially spinning). The word "Mokosh" is interpreted as "mother kosh" - that is, the mother of a good harvest. According to other versions, “mokosh” means “to get wet” (connection with rain and harvest) or mokos - spinning, or “ma + kosh” — “mother of fate”. 

Mokosh was one of the most important figures in pagan beliefs. This explains her (and not "husband" Vasily) leading role in the winter processions. Interestingly, the interpretation of the image of Mokosh echoes the even more ancient cult of the Mother of the Raw Earth.

Initially, the goddess was the wife of Perun. However, punished by the Thunderer for treason with the serpent Veles, Mokosh was cast into the lower world, from where she is annually saved by the owner of the kingdom of the dead.

Mokosh is often compared with ancient goddesses: Hekate, Demeter, ancient Greek Aphrodite, Roman Venus, Etruscan Uni.


Veles The

Christian wonderworker Vasily is associated by researchers with Veles — the personification of worldly wisdom, the god of wealth, livestock and the whole living world; owner of the afterlife Navi. 

Could take the form of a scaly serpent, dragon, bull, bear and other animals. The assistants of the “cattle god” are brownies, banniki, foresters (goblin), barns, yard workers, field workers, middays. All of them were invisible patrons of order and prosperity.

Veles is credited with similarities with the Greek Apollo, the Indian Shiva.

In Slavic myths, Veles is the second husband of Mokosh. The custom of mummers to consider Malanka and Vasily as a couple is justified by the hopes for the prosperity of our agricultural ancestors, their dependence on nature: only by getting married Mokosh and Veles can give people a rich harvest. And only on this night, Mokosh, who escaped from the kingdom of the dead, and Veles, who has not yet lost his human appearance, can marry.


Generous evening: folk traditions

According to legend, on the night of January 13-14, Veles brings Mokosh out of the underworld, but otherworldly forces are chasing her. In order to confuse the enemy army, on the Generous Evening, the people create many fake goddesses (disguised as Melanka), surround them with a retinue — these are Vasily, a goat, folklore characters and guards (soldiers, dragoons, Cossacks). 

Joking songs about the lazy and negligent Melanka, as it were, hint that in front of you is not a real goddess, but a substitute one.


Feast A

Generous evening is rich in events, customs, and interesting beliefs. In Ukraine, a plentiful table was laid in every house. This was the main difference compared to Christmas Eve, during which only fast food was eaten. 

In the red corner of the house they put a bowl with generous kutya. Unlike lean juicy, it could be seasoned with meat, lard, butter, cream, milk. The housewives also prepared pies, pancakes, dumplings with various fillings, ham, jelly and other meat dishes — in order to properly treat themselves, to thank those generous and sowing. The richer the table, the more in the coming year it will be “generous”.

The whole family sat at the table. They put on clean, festive clothes. If the neighbors wanted to make peace, they celebrated the Old New Year together. Reconciliation could not be denied. On this day, the guys who received a pumpkin (refusal) during the matchmaking tried again in the hope of good luck.



Guys, girls and even family villagers gathered to be generous, dressed up, tell fortunes. The generous ones set off after sunset. In front of the gang was a guy with a cardboard or torch star on a stick. No one had the right to overtake him — this is the tradition. 

The mummers took a couple home — Malanka and Vasily. The young man, dressed up as Malanka, pulled the whole show on himself, so a young man with a remarkable sense of humor was chosen for the main role. A simple performance ridiculed everyday women's work and parodied a negligent hostess - Malanka chalked with a broom, on the contrary, dressed strangely, made a mess in the house. Girls could dress up in men's clothes, portraying Vasily.

Our Malanka is sweetspoons

and drowned theat the plate.

I drowned the spoons in a plate, I

soaked the white apron.

Our Malanka is not working,

In her shirt is a couple.

In the company of mummers, there was certainly a goat. Once it was a real animal, but dressing up turned out to be much more interesting and fun. The “goat” put on a ridiculous outfit of a jacket turned inside out with wool, a fur hat and a mask. They attached horns, hooves and a tail to her, hung bundles of bagels, bells, ribbons, paper flowers. During the performance, the goat died, came to life and danced to the singing of generous songs. The furry animal, hung with symbols of prosperity, symbolized the winter “death” of nature and its rebirth in the new year.

Among the mummers one could also see a comical “humpbacked” or “nosed” old woman and an old man, a gypsy and a gypsy, soldiers, janissaries and other exaggerated characters. Faces were painted with soot and clay. For costumes, old clothes and rags were used — the more amusing the company turned out, the richer the gifts were. 

As in the old days, today money, sweets, rolls, nuts and other household goods are served to the generous. All this is put in a linen bag, the money is given to the gypsy, who then divides the booty. It is also customary to regale the mummers at a generous table. The hosts rejoice at cheerful guests — where Malanka has visited, the whole year will be generous and successful. 



Another important concern of the guys was to track down the fortune-telling girls and take the gate (gate) away from the house where they gathered. Even the owner of the house could not stop them. To return the property, it was necessary to put up a magarych. 

The young men frightened the girls, tried to prevent them from telling fortunes about their betrothed. So, a slipper thrown over a fence could fly back. Or in the window of the bath, where the fortune-tellers gathered, a “terrible beast” could shout in a bad voice.


Agricultural customs

Before dawn, the owner took out Ded (Didukh), straw from the table and hay collected from the floor, and burned them outside the gate.

Didukh - a ritual bundle of ears of corn, installed in the house at Christmas. Grandfather was spun from the first compressed sheaf. In Ukraine, Didukh is an analogue of a Christmas tree. It was decorated with ribbons, paper flowers, dry plants.

Also, the peasants performed a number of rituals important for the fertility of the land and livestock. For example, for the first time they harnessed young pack animals — oxen and horses, so that they get used to the harness. 

If a tree did not bear fruit in the garden, the owner approached it with the words: “If you spoil it, I won’t cut it down; if you don’t spoil it, I’ll cut it down” and tapped the trunk with an ax three times.

So that in the summer the garden would not be overcome by caterpillars and other misfortunes, it was supposed to run around it around the perimeter barefoot three times. 

They wondered about the harvest: for this, bunches of rye, wheat, oats, barley were left on the street and they looked: on which sheaf the greater frost will fall, on that crop there will be a harvest.


Otherworldly forcesspirits

On the old New Year's night, evilwalked the earth — chasing Mokosh, who had left the lower kingdom, interfering in the affairs of people, trying to do as much harm as possible. The generous tried to return home before 12 o'clock at night, "so that the unclean would not take for her own and beguiled."

Witches who celebrated Sabbats these days received great power. To establish the kingdom of darkness forever, the witches tried to steal the stars or the moon from the sky. To do this, it was supposed to stand on the bell tower with your feet up. But the sun, which began to gain strength from December 21, returned light to the world again and again.

The villagers believed that the souls of dead relatives appeared at the festive table and tried to propitiate them.


Signs and beliefs

  • If, during cooking, the juice comes out of the pot, or the dish cracks, it’s not good.
  • If kutia was successful, it was eaten clean. Otherwise, they were thrown into the wormwood along with the pot.
  • So that luck does not “fly away” or “float away” from the house, dishes from poultry and fish are not prepared.
  • An even number of people are seated at the table or an empty bowl is delivered.
  • During the feast, the hostess should not get up to take care of the guests. Everything you need for a feast should be at hand.
  • On January 14, you cannot lend money, otherwise you will be in need all year.
  • You should also not take out the garbage, so as not to inadvertently throw happiness out of the house.
  • If you don’t want to cry, don’t count small change, metal money on the Old New Year; do not say the number thirteen.
  • On the first day of the New Year (January 14), a woman dreaming of new clothes must change several outfits.
  • Marriages entered into on the Generous Evening will be generous with pleasant events.


Weather Predictions

  • If there are many stars and little snow on January 14, spring will be early.
  • Starry sky on New Year's Eve — to the harvest of berries and mushrooms.
  • A clear starry sky portends a harvest of peas. However, if the stars go out by morning, the peas will not have time to ripen.
  • A big frost on this day promises a late spring.
  • Windy weather — to a hot summer.
  • Frost on the branches, snow, frost or fog — for the harvest.
  • Severe frost and little snow — to a bountiful harvest.
  • A thaw on Vasiliev Day portends a cold summer and a poor harvest.
  • A blizzard on January 13 promises a good harvest of nuts.
  • A blizzard on the night of January 13-14 predicts a restless year.
  • If on New Year's Eve the clouds came from the north, they were waiting for the winter harvest. From the south — spring.
  • If the moon is waning, the spring flood will be negligible. If the moon is growing, expect a flood.
  • The polynya is filled with water — to a large spring flood.



The tradition of “calling” for a generous harvest and prosperity existed in pre-Christian times. In short songs, rhymes, they called the owners of the house, wished them all the well-being, reminded them of gifts for the generous.


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