Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Wedding Vinok Instructions

The Ukrainian wedding wreath is called a vinok. The word is related to the Ukrainian word for a marriage ceremony - vinchannya. It is a lovely symbol of everlasting love to wear a wreath of evergreen periwinkle - barvinok in Ukrainian. Even in the autumn and possibly under the snow in a protected area you may find periwinkle growing, protected by its mystical evergreen properties. The amazingly delicate strands of this prolific ground cover are gathered, and wound together to form a wreath.

The actual process is rather simple. Take two longish strands and cross their ends. Taking a third strand, place it between the two strands. Using one of the outside strands, simply wind the barvinok a couple of times to bind the three. Hold the bound part closely in your fingertips. Repeat the process with more strands, step by step, binding each individually. The closer you place the leaves one to another, the more lush the wreath, however the green strands woven together this way look beautiful too.

The vinkopletennia event is traditionally a collaboration of women who beautify the wreath for the bride. Remember to pass the wreath through many hands, pinching the last twining.

 The young bride will appreciate the many hands, young and old, who witnessed her transition through the marriage preparations, and the vinchannya.  In this case, the bride's baba played a very important role.  The entire vinkopletennia was beautiful however BABA's blessing, wisdom and loving welcome made it perfect.

My gentleman florist friend believed that the evergreen wasn't beautiful enough and tried to hot-glue on little white baby's breath flowers - didn't work. Then he did some research and discovered individual sheets of gold leaf to overlay onto the leaves - which might have worked on hardier leaves or perhaps a dry product - not worth the bother. Then a young bride mentioned that a bit of gold spray paint might shine up the leaves - but the concensus among the ladies was that the barvinok itself was beautiful enough.

Gather enough long, long strands for the wreath. Keep them clean and cool in a bowl. When the wreath is measured correctly to fit (remember to make two to fit the married couple's heads), you need not crush the strands too harshly with bobbypins.

Storing the wreath(s) between weaving at the vinkopletennia and the vinchannya (marriage ceremony) is important. Keep the wreath cool, wrapped to prevent it drying out, possibly misting the leaves to make them shine.

A vinok, made by many hands, together at a vinkopletennia is a beautiful gift for a bride.  The ceremony, the tradition, togetherness, life, love and hope everlasting - what a way to start the next part of her journey through life!



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