Monday, 16 December 2013

Another Malanka Story - Just for Fun
In the ancient Ukrainian tradition, the Creator - whose name is PraBoh - the Eternal One, had four sons and one daughter.  The daughter, Lada - is Earth.  The first son fought with his father - the Eternal One, and with his brother and sisters  - he was the one who dwells in the deepest darkness. The second son was Yar-or Yarylo who in Christian times became St. George.  The third son was Rai - who in Christian times became St. John.  The youngest son, was Lad, also called Myr -which stood for peace.  The sun was of course All Seeing, the Svyatovydam, a knight and hero in a  golden cloak, armed with eight swords - one of which he holds in his hand.  Riding around the earth on white horses, Svyatovydam sees everything and  knows everything because he is observant.

Lada - the daughter who is Earth, brought two children into the world. Her son was the Moon - Kniaz Meesyats, and her daughter was Spring-May, also called Mylanka because she was always loving and generous - myla. Mylanka spent her days covering the world with flowers and greenery, especially in the month of May. But the first son, the one who dwells in the deepest darkness wanted to harm her and everyone else.  He wanted to take Mylanka to the underground kingdom. He stole her finally when Kniaz Meesyats - the Moon was hunting.  For the time she was absent from the world, there was no spring.  When she was eventually freed by the King of the Moon himself, Spring rejoiced!.  Mylanka married the Moon King (in Christian times called Basil), and since that day, she heralds the coming of Spring.  She works to break the bonds of cold, deep dark times, and return greenery, flowers and life for everyone to enjoy.

So Malanka is her festival!  In ancient times the carnival followed the religious parts of the mid winter holiday season, in a yearly ritual marking the new year.  The Wisdom of the Ages is a tale similar to those told in Greek mythology.  Of course there are a plethora of Malanka activities which flesh out the story, make it into a whole family celebration full of costume party masquerade, dressing up to represent elements of nature, animals, figures in the skits and dramatic plays, some of which represent the decay of nature being transformed by the powers of good.  The evening is never complete without silly party games, slap-stick comedy, teasing and the like, always a good excuse for dressing up, skits and plays.  Pure fun and silliness, a great way to light up a dark, dreary winter night!

Of course that is only one of the different stories explaining the origins of Malanka!

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