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Unusual Facts that Make Ukrainian Culture AMAZING

Ukraine is a country that’s steeped in rich history and customs.

Everyone — from the older to the younger generations — gladly take part in the observance of their local traditions, creating the image of a society that’s both modern yet traditional.

It would be impossible to identify every single thing that makes Ukrainian culture unique, but there are a few that certainly stand out. Here are some of the truly unusual:

It boasts no less than seven World Heritage sites.

Ukraine is said to be one of the countries in Europe with the biggest land area, second to Russia.

For such a large country, it has a single dominant mother tongue in the Ukrainian language, which is East Slavic in origin.

A photo of an aerial view of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine
Kiev Personals The gateway to Ukrainian culture is its capital city, Kiev.

But its massive land area is not the only thing that’s incredible about it as it also boasts no less than seven World Heritage sites.

One of the grandest is Saint Sophia’s Cathedral in the capital city, Kiev, that was built in the eleventh century.

Another site is the Struve Geodetic Arc, which is significant not just for its structure, but also for its important role in mapping the exact shape and size of the Earth.

Beyond its numerous World Heritage sites, the country also has an abundant number of impressive Orthodox cathedrals.

It’s a country of drinkers.

To put it mildly, let’s just say that Ukrainian people have a long history of going beyond the usual few drinks associated with social drinking.

At present, the World Health Organization (WHO) identifies Ukraine as one of the top 10 countries for alcohol consumption, placed at the sixth spot.

Some of its fellow former Soviet states — Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, and Romania — complete the top 5.

It’s worth noting, however, that unlike Russians, Ukrainiains don’t have an obsessive predisposition to vodka. In fact, they have a different national drink called horilka, which is similar to vodka in look and consistency.

Its English translation is “burning water,” and is called as such because chili pepper is added to the drink to give it an additional kick.

It has some truly weird customs.

Every country has its own set of customs that would be considered strange in other places. And Ukraine is no different.

One of their weird but funny practices is the habit of burning a small piece of paper, putting it in a glass of champagne, and drinking everything — both champagne and paper — together.

The “reason” behind this quirky superstition is the belief that when you write down a wish on a piece of paper, burn it, and then swallow it, what you wished for will definitely come true.

But there’s a tricky condition: you have to do it right at the stroke of midnight.

A photo of people at a party, faces not seen, toasting their drinks
Kiev Personals Part of Ukrainian customs is to drink champagne at the stroke of midnight, but with a twist.

Another of the strange Ukrainian beliefs is the holiday they observe called Hbrobki or Radonitsa, which is when they visit the graves of their deceased relatives. They do so because of their belief that it makes their dead ancestors happy in the afterlife to be spoken about warmly by their living descendants.

Although the Orthodox church disapproves of the idea of people having fun at graveyards, it doesn’t stop locals from visiting graves and putting food on them, thereby “sharing” the food with the dead.

Finally, one of the more extraordinary Ukrainian traditions that’s part of the national identity of locals across the country is the practice of plunging into an ice-cold pool every January 19 as a way to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

On this day, people consider the waters to be holy and so they plunge into the icy water to heal themselves from all kinds of sickness.

If you’re in Ukraine sometime in the middle of January, don’t be surprised to see lots of locals swimming in icy waters as they’re just participating in a beloved annual tradition.

The art of giving gifts is a big deal.

Another huge thing in Ukraine is interpersonal relations.

Social gatherings are held frequently beyond the usual reasons like birthdays or other special occasions.

When you’re invited to a traditional Ukrainian home, you’re expected to bring along gifts as a sign of your good will. Small gifts like flowers, pastries, and chocolates are preferred, although most people wouldn’t say no to a bottle of imported liquor.

When it comes to the art of giving gifts, Ukrainians believe in the proverbial expression that it’s the thought that counts.

A cropped photo of an arm holding a bouquet of flowers
Kiev Personals Ukrainian people give bouquets of flowers when they visit each other’s homes.

They also give gifts on name day celebrations, which are different from birthdays.

In Ukraine, each first name is assigned to a certain day of the calendar, which are then based on the birth dates of the saints. When a Ukrainian celebrates his name day, he can expect to receive flowers or greeting cards, same as on his birthday.

It has lots of ghost towns.

One of the country’s most infamous claims to history is the Chernobyl disaster, which happened in 1986.

Soon after the nuclear accident, considered the worst ever in history, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was established by the USSR.

Within that zone, there are a number of “ghost towns” — places abandoned due to their proximity to the site of the accident.

At present, there are organized tours to these ghost towns, but travelers are advised to do so at their own risk as radiation levels throughout such places are still dangerously high.

Ukrainian people are an emotional bunch.

As a people, Ukrainians are an outgoing sort.

Generally, they’re more friendly than the Russians.

While it is often said that the Russians sit down together and brood, the Ukrainians gather and celebrate. Food, drinks, and songs are the common elements of their gatherings.

It is part of Ukrainian family values to live by the saying “Look on the brighter side.”

They possess understanding and positive personalities and believe that in times of trouble, things will always sort themselves out.

Discovering the Quirks of Ukraine

From the above, you can conclude that Ukrainian culture is, for the most part, traditional.

The people pay huge importance in observing the same Ukrainian customs and traditions that were practiced by their ancestors. But that’s not to say that you can’t see any signs of the modern world in their society. At its core, their culture is the perfect mix of traditional and modern.

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