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The authentic Kiev – traditions, festivals, mentality and lifestyle

Travelers who want to get to know the beautiful national traditions of Kiev should visit the city during one of the most important holidays. One of the most popular holidays among residents is the City Day, traditionally celebrated on the last weekend of May. The tradition of celebrating this day appeared in 1982 and in recent years the Kiev Day has reached an incredible scale. On public holidays in Kiev there are always sports competitions, the traditional balloon parade and concerts by popular artists.

No less interesting is the entertainment for art and creativity. More than 30 years ago, the city organized so-called ‘vernissage’ art exhibitions, which have taken place today on the Kiev Day. The best masters of the city present their masterpieces, each of which can be bought. Hand embroidered aprons and colorful bedspreads, original handmade hats and jewelry, magnificent paintings and traditional costumes are only a small part of what the masters of Kyiv offer.

Residents also celebrate numerous religious holidays, and the most famous is St. Michael’s Day. Celebrated on November 21, many customs have remained unchanged for several hundred years with this holiday. The holiday is dedicated to the most important patron saint of Kiev – the Archangel Michael. 

On this day, people avoid hard physical work and set the table to spend the day with their loved ones. On this holiday it is also common to please the ‘Dvorovoi’, a ghost responsible for the court and the domestic order. You have to leave a glass of milk and a treat. Many who observe this ritual today find that the amount of milk in the glass is significantly reduced by morning, which is a good sign.

On the days of Maslenitsa (Butter Week), some of the most beautiful festivals and interesting entertainment events are traditionally held in Kyiv. The main symbol of this holiday is pancakes that embody the sun and the long awaited spring beginning. Much of Maslenitsa’s entertainment is done outdoors.

On the squares gastronomic festivals are held, on the streets perform artists and musicians with beautiful costumes. The last stage is the burning of Lady Maslenitsa. In addition to public festivals, it is customary to observe some spiritual traditions on this day. During the holidays, people ask for forgiveness from their loved ones and clean up any bad thoughts.

Church of St Andrews

The residents are characterized by a very respectful attitude towards historical traditions. Beautiful costumes, culinary specialties, traditional dances and music are essential features of every holiday. The typical characteristics of the local people include thoroughness and conscientiousness.

Whatever they have to do, the locals do everything without haste and very carefully. In many ways, the inhabitants of Kiev owe their national costume their beautiful costumes. Your holiday preparation starts well in advance; All costumes are decorated with handmade embroidery.

Cathedral of the Dormition (back view)

The quest for competition and leadership is another important feature of the local people. This is the reason why many kinds of competitions took place in Kyiv on major holidays many centuries ago. Men could assert themselves in combats and women in culinary arts and handicrafts. Sports competitions of all kinds are still mandatory today.

A striking trait that is often misunderstood is thriftiness and a negative attitude towards waste. Such peculiarities are perceived by many as greed, while in fact this is merely a manifestation of a caring attitude towards the fruits of labor. The love of delicious and hearty food has always been an important part of the character of the Kievan. Here it is customary to put on each holiday a rich table. But even on a typical day, a sumptuous table is considered one of the most important signs of prosperity and well-being. One of the most important forms of hospitality in Kiev is the invitation to lunch or dinner. The rejection of such offers can offend your hospitable Ukrainian friends. 

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