The Malanka festivities ring in the Orthodox New Year traditionally marked in Ukraine some 2 weeks later then Catholic Christians. Known as Shdedryi Vechir (the Generous Night), this holiday caps off the seasonal holidays.
The Kyiv carnival-like celebration brought out crowds of youths clad in traditional Ukrainian clothes who put on a traditional show with a’Koza’ and a ‘Star’, singing shedrivky songs and playing pranks on onlookers.
According to the old tradition, each singing crowd was led by a young man, dressed up as a Malanka girl who, in turn, leads a ‘goat’ heralding a near arrival of spring.
People sang ‘Malanka comes around, brings in Vasylko boy’ for the old belief says having these two at your door on New Year’s Eve promises a good harvest of wheat and rye.
The Ukrainian New Year’s Eve is all about merry-making, fancy costumes, carolling, spring well-wishes and old rituals like throwing around fistfuls of wheat grains promising luck and prosperity to every household paid a visit by such Malanka crowds.
This year, Kyiv people were entertained by folklore group Kyivska Kolyada.