Every Sunday for the last few weeks, my friend Ambrose Comchi announces that he is selling tickets for Malanka. It sounds Ukrainian enough, BUT what is it?
Malanka is a Ukrainian folk holiday celebrated on January 13th which is New Years Eve in the Julian calendar. Malanka commemorates the feast day of St. Melania. On this night in Ukraine, carollers traditionally went from house to house playing pranks or acting out a small play, with a bachelor dressed in women’s clothing leading the group. Malanka caps off the festivities of the Christmas holidays and is often the last chance to party before the solemn period of Lent.
But like many Ukrainian traditions that existed long before the adoption of Christianity in 988, Malanka was a mythical figure. The celebration of Malanka symbolizes the beginning of Spring being released from captivity and on her arrival bringing the flowers and greenery to life again.
Currently, Ukrainians still follow this tradition with different variations. Events get scheduled at banquet halls to celebrate the occasion. A whole community gathers to enjoy the event and to honour their cultural background. A large dinner and raffle prizes are customary events with dancing after the meal. At midnight the New Year is cheered in and the kolomyjka begins. In the kolomyjka, attendees form a large circle in which individual dancers or small groups perform their favourite steps involving lifts, spins, high kicks, even building human pyramids. The performers attempt to impress and entertain the audience with their skills. To join in all of the fun festivities for MALANKA 2017 see Ambrose Comchi.
Last chance for tickets for MALANKA 2017 Friday January 13 @ ST. STEPHEN'S CULTURAL CENTRE
COCKTAILS 6:00 PM
DINNER 7:00 PM
DANCING AND ENTERTAINMENT TO FOLLOW
Special thanks to Ambrose for his research on this article.
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