Sunday, 28 October 2012

Ukrainian Wedding on the Prairies
Crops are off the field, harvest is done, time for a feast - time for a traditional Ukrainian wedding!  Where are the besotted love birds?

Traditional Ukrainian weddings on the Canadian prairies have always included elements from the ancestral home and a lot from the new Canadian surroundings.

Today North American brides have so many choices - dresses, flowers, and all the details.  But in times long past, the wedding party was the most important detail - gotta get food, drink and a band - a good dance band!!

Planning for a Ukrainian Wedding - what do you need? 
First, a svatannya - the ritual asking parental permission to be married - arrange for food, drink and party!
Then, plan the day - service, photos, supper, and party.
Invite guests - make a long list, laughingly negotiate on a list, and party.
Vinkopletennia - just go out into the garden and gather some periwinkle (barvinok), weave wreaths while singing, and partying.
Call auntie to gather the ladies to make bread - a wedding korovai complete with a zillion pretty little bread doves (Ukie version of a wedding cake), and then party.
Cook a great Ukrainian prairie meal, Canadian version - Ukrainian holubtsi, Ukrainian cornmeal nachynka, gravy, chicken, pickles, and what for desert? 
Wedding day, getting the blessing from parents, and off to the service.
First the vows.  All the nervewracking concentration is over, and celebration day has arrived! Party!
Reception and meeting the guests, remember to toast the bride and roast the groom! 
Don't forget to plan for perepiiy - the reception line where everyone takes a drink as they personally wind past the wedding party, leaving an extra something in the basket for their new home.  Then the popravini (usually a day later, making things right, cleaning up and making sure nobody took offence at the dancing lamp shade).
A traditional Ukrainian wedding usually takes about three days, an elaborate one, possibly more!

It used to be so simple then - everyone played their part in the wedding plans, and things happened quickly - no bride or groom ever waited long for their wedding!

Some things do change though.  The white bridal gowns are marketed so heavily, and now food trucks serve up cultural variety at weddings.  Nonetheless, there are some ubiquitous elements - things that don't change. 

One of these is the music - and there are a huge variety of renditions of the Ukrainian Wedding March -

Zirka band plays a great Ukrainian Wedding March - it goes a bit fast for my taste but it is effective.

Tommy Buick - of oldtime prairie wedding fame has another Wedding March to enjoy -

And the Kapusta Kids do another rendition -

Eugene and his accordian do another worthy rendition at

Toronto's diaspora Ukrainian community enjoys this version at

Toronto's Ukrainian Festival 2012 was an opportunity to enjoy it again at

Music lingers in the mind, the melodies come from ancestral places deep in the family memory.  Let the dance begin! 

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