The tradition to decorate Christmas tree came to Ukraine more than 400 years ago. But unfortunately this atmospheric family holiday ritual has completely pushed truly traditional ukrainian christmas decorations out at the time when they were not just only the festive interior part but they carried the old tradition of Ukrainian believes.
Straw weaving art is one of the most ancient folk crafts in Ukraine
Even through the centuries it has brought long-lasting traditions embodied into modern life by the Ukrainian craftsmen and designers. Fertile land of wheat and rye will always remind to the present and next generations of the Christmas straw weaving art symbols as Didukh, pavuky, izhaky and okhresty.
Didukh, traditional Ukrainian christmas ornaments - made from a sheaf of wheat, it is a symbolic sacrifice taken from the best of the autumn harvest, is the main Christmas symbol.
Sometimes it is called as didochok or snip-rai (paradise sheaf). It is considered to be the embodiment of the ancestor’s spirit and race memory. Didukh is the symbol of fertile harvest, peace and wealth.
Before the Christmas Eve Supper begins (in Ukraine it’s the 6th of January) the host brings Didukh to the house and puts it at the holiest place with the icons called in Ukraine pokut.
Kutia or Kutya, essential Christmas dish mainly made of wheatberries, poppy seeds and honey, and uzvar, the drink made of dried fruit, are placed near it as the funeral dishes. Because the souls of the dead family members are believed to visit the family that Holy Evening (Sviata Vechera) sitting at the Didukh branches.
Also there was a special day in Ukraine for homemade Christmas ornaments to make. Late in the evening young girls gathered together to create straw symbolic things. That happened on 2nd of January, known in Ukraine as the holy Gnat day.
Pavyk (or spider) decoration combines two worlds spiritual and mundane one. It is a kind of the Universe model. According to the Christmas carols Ukrainian people believed the spiders have created this world. You can use your own designer’s approach to transform artificial spider web into some stylish interior items.
Hedgehog straw decoration was made of clay or dough as the body with many straw sticks putted into it to create a shape reminding the Sun, symbol honored by Ukrainians.
Straw cross like decorations slightly reminding the snowflakes were used as window decorations which under the candle light created amazing shades on the surface.
Discover the beauty of Ukrainian Christmas traditions!