Ukraine ’s Culture: Traditions, Lifestyles & Personal Experiences

1.jpg

When you think about a country like Ukraine, what would you imagine it to be? You might visualize something along the lines of Russian communism and Oksana Baiul, the Olympic figure skating medalist in 1994 in Lillehammer. Many people don’t know very much about the country, let alone the diversity and character in it. After visiting Ukraine for a month back in 2003, participating in a criminal justice study abroad program while studying at Michigan State University, I have grown to learn as well as fall in love with its extreme differentiated culture. And in today's post, I'm sharing my insights and experiences from this incredible trip to Ukraine! 

P1010061.jpg
P5120253.jpg

The relationship of the Ukrainian to others is based on definite forms that express social culture, good manners, courtesy, and hospitality. The fundamental nature of their people is hospitality. They are kind and friendly. There is respect for elders, for the deceased, and love for children, nature, and animals. Ukrainians enjoy a good sense of humor. They are musical, artistic and wonderful craftsmen famous for their skills in weaving, woodcarving, and ceramics. However, proficiency and diligence in working the land is perhaps the greatest talent the Ukrainians have. 

Ukraine is to be found on rich soil, and since ancient times the Ukrainian people have driven their energy into agriculture. Folk customs revived since the era of Trypillian culture (4th - 2nd millennia B.C.) and modified over time, have sustained the hard working peasant toiling on the land. Life depended on the regularities of working the soil. Holidays were celebrated during periods of change from one type of agricultural activity to another. Even in pre-Christian times, a kind of ceremony was held before starting work raising the powers of nature to cooperate and to provide generous harvests. These seasonal festivities were later built-in into Christian holidays, and they still exist to this day.

P1010088.jpg

Easter, for example, is a spring holiday. Spring is a time of plowing and sowing in the fields, a time of warmth and rebirth after a very cold winter. In pagan times, Ukrainians believed that the gods died and were reborn every year. An example of a pagan ritual symbolizing renewal and rebirth which is still practiced is the dyeing of eggs. Using wax, women drew symbolic designs on eggs, dipped them into dye, melted the wax to expose the ornament, and presented these delightful objects to loved ones. On Holy Saturday, they go to the church (which they call tserkva) to attend ceremonies in which an image of Our Lord is laid in a sepulcher, from which it is [then] removed with great solemnity. When this representation or ceremony is finished, every one of them, men, women, boys, and girls, go to kneel before the bishop (whom they call vladyka) and presents to him an egg dyed red or yellow, and pronounces the words, Khrystos voskresPysanka (in Ukrainian the word pysanka is derived from the verb pysaty, that is "to write" or "to paint") is an egg painted with bright colors in geometrical patterns or stylized figural, animal and floral designs. Christianity adopted this pagan tradition and Easter eggs have become an indelible feature of the feast commemorating the Resurrection of Christ. To the Christian Ascension Day (the 40th day after Easter), Ukrainians added a pre-Christian tradition of going into the field to check the progress of the wheat. The Trinity is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter. Customarily, people decorated their homes with green tree branches and aromatic herbs. This was a day for fortune telling. Women knitted wreaths and floated them in a river or stream.

They watched as the wreaths drifted away, wishing that a handsome young man would find the wreath, for this meant that he would some day become her husband. Another summer holiday full of magic and ritual is known as Saint Kupala, which is on July 7th. It is a beautiful, high-spirited celebration in which fire and water, symbols of cleansing are celebrated. During the day everyone has to be at least immersed in water. At sunset bonfires are lit, and boys and girls jump over the flames while holding hands.

IMG_5110.JPG
P1010091.jpg

This is the last holiday before the harvest. The year was rounded out with a series of harvest holidays. August 2nd, known as St. Illia Day, marked the beginning of autumn. On the19th of August, known as Saviour Day, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, and honey were blessed. Weddings usually took place in the middle of October. A unique feature of Ukrainian Christmas festivities is the vertep, or a puppet theater. Young people get together, dress as angels, kings, Herod, Satan, death, and even animals. They walk from house to house enacting the Nativity and singing about the birth of Christ, greeting everyone with the holiday. The most well known national holidays are Independence Day, which was on August 24th, 1991 and January 22nd, 1918 the day Ukraine first declared its independence from Soviet Russia. This day is now celebrated as Unity Day. Along with holidays, the cuisine of the Ukrainians is very much individualized as well.

2.jpg
5.jpg

Ukrainian cuisine is closely linked to the customs, culture, and way of life of the Ukrainian people. It is famous for its diversity and quality of flavor. The most popular Ukrainian meal is borscht. This thick, hearty and distinctive soup is prepared with an assortment of ingredients including meat, mushrooms, beans, and even prunes. Mushroom soups, bean and pea soups, soups with dumplings and thick millet chowders are also popular. Holubtsi, or stuffed cabbage, is another favorite meal, as are varenyky (pirogues) filled with potatoes, meat, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruit such as blueberries or cherries. Varenyky are often mentioned in their folk songs. Ukrainians very much like dairy food. For example, cottage cheese pancakes, riazhanka or fermented baked milk and nalysnyky, which are cheese-filled crepes. When walking down the street, Ukrainians will have stands where you can buy milk, even unpasteurized milk. There are no holidays without pies. Some examples of dessert are pampushky, which is a type of fritter,  baba, a tall cylindrical cake, and cakes made with honey. Ukrainian sausage is very appetizing. It is preserved in a special way. They are cared for in porcelain containers smothered in melted fat. Along with bringing a variety of tastes to the table, there are several traditions that come along with it as well. During my trip, I discovered that Ukrainians eat plenty of chicken when they first welcome someone into their home and when they leave as well. As for drinks, Ukrainians enjoy fruit juice, coffee, tea, and plenty of vodka. A double shot to Americans is one shot in Ukrainians. And let me tell you, it will definitely creep up on you. As for their salad, or salat, it only consists of cucumbers and tomatoes. If you want dressing on the side, such as Ranch, you’ll be lucky enough to get salt. Ukrainians do not prefer a lot of salt on anything.

IMG_5112.JPG
IMG_9523f.jpg

In its ethnic composition, Ukraine is a multi-ethnic Republic, inhabited by more than 110 ethnic groups, of which Ukrainian (72.7%) are the largest, followed by Russians, Jews, Belarussians, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Poles and Hungarians. Ukrainians have marked national characteristics that make it easy to recognize them even beyond the borders of Ukrainian territory. They belong to the Indo-Germanic group, an old Slav ethnic group that grew out of elements provided by Asia Minor and Mediterranean countries. Their original home is that of all Slavs. Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, neighboring the Black Sea, between Poland, Romania, and Moldova in the west and Russia in the east. As of July 2017, the population in Ukraine is 44,405,055. The irony to these locations has much sway to its national characteristics. Ukraine has been divided in one way or another into two spheres of influence - the west, largely influenced by Poland, and the east, which traditionally has been dominated by Russia. During my visit to Ukraine, I never got to see the eastern part of Ukraine. I did get to see the western region, in a city called Lviv. Lviv has much Polish influence, throughout their history, Poland had greatly affected this city. During the 14th century, Polish kings took over Lviv and by the 19th century, the Polish owned most of the land. The Polish built beautiful churches, including the Dominican, Carmelite, Jesuit, Benedictine, and Bernadine. Along with the Polish influence, there are also some Greek influences. 

IMG_5111.JPG
P1010066.jpg

In its ethnic composition, Ukraine is a multi-ethnic Republic, inhabited by more than 110 ethnic groups, of which Ukrainian (72.7%) are the largest, followed by Russians, Jews, Belarussians, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Poles, and Hungarians. Ukrainians have marked national characteristics that make it easy to recognize them even beyond the borders of Ukrainian territory. They belong to the Indo-Germanic group, an old Slav ethnic group that grew out of elements provided by Asia Minor and Mediterranean countries. Their original home is that of all Slavs. Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, neighboring the Black Sea, between Poland, Romania, and Moldova in the west and Russia in the east. As of July 2017, the population in Ukraine is 44,405,055. The irony to these locations has much sway to its national characteristics. Ukraine has been divided in one way or another into two spheres of influence - the west, largely influenced by Poland, and the east, which traditionally has been dominated by Russia. During my visit to Ukraine, I never got to see the eastern part of Ukraine. I did get to see the western region, in a city called Lviv. Lviv has much Polish influence, throughout their history, Poland had greatly affected this city. During the 14th century, Polish kings took over Lviv and by the 19th century, the Polish owned most of the land. The Polish built beautiful churches, including the Dominican, Carmelite, Jesuit, Benedictine, and Bernadine. Along with the Polish influence, there are also some Greek influences. 

P1010070.jpg
P1010076.jpg

As being able to personally see Lviv (which was by far my favorite city of all six cities we visited), there is much realization that not one but several of the cities in Ukraine are unique with deeply seeded history. Along with this history, there is much educational background as well as philosophy, mannerism, and humanity. Along with being able to see their educational institutes and history, I also was able to observe Ukraine ’s law enforcement agencies and surroundings. Now to the juicy part... what were some of my first-time experiences over there? 

I fired a gun for the very first time overseas, saw my very first autopsy (EVER) and was one of the only few ladies standing afterward, endured my first lap dance from an Ukranian male stripper dressed up as a matador, tried Absinthe for the first time, and was exposed to the beautiful world of opera as it was also the very first time I had ever seen one before, to which I instantly fell madly in love with. I tried borscht, barley, and sheep testicles. Yep. You read that right. Even though I really didn't enjoy the taste of sheep balls, the entire trip was an eye-opening experience that forever changed how I perceive the world and those that are in it. Not to mention the culture shock, that even to this day, is still unmatched unlike any other place in the world. 

3.jpg
IMG_5114.JPG

Which is why I chose this beautiful country to travel to with a group of students and teachers. Michigan State University has one of the best and largest study abroad programs in the country and I am so glad I took full advantage of it. I could have gone to London or Australia within my major, but I was actually really nervous at the thought of going to Ukraine. And how many times would I get such a wonderful opportunity to see a place not many people would see? To be honest, I felt so connected with Ukraine and the people, I would not be surprised if I'm partly Ukrainian mixed in with the Polish side of me. I'm even considering trying one of those DNA-tests that can individuate the ethnicities of a person. I'll be sure to fill you guys in on my experience with a fun story here on the blog when I do...

P1010082.jpg
P1010093.jpg

Where's the craziest place you've traveled to? I would love to hear some of your stories! Comment down below - and if you have any questions about Ukraine and my experiences there I'd also love to hear from you! Do I have any Ukrainian readers out there? Don't be shy! I love connecting with people and sharing stories. Don't forget to comment your most adventurous trip to date down below! Stay tuned for a ton of upcoming beauty & fashion content! I'll be sharing my August beauty essentials on Friday so be sure to check back here then! Catch y'all soon. :)

P1010085.jpg
4.jpg

LOVE & XX'S

maqandsuz_logo.jpg

SHOP THE PRODUCT

FOLLOW MAQ + SUZ

OTHER SIMILAR POSTS

Are You a Katie Girl?

WEARING: ROMWE WHITE STRIPED SPLIT DRESS | ADORE ME LYANNA TOP |
CLOSET ACCESS MINI ARIA SADDLE BAG | EGO NASH BACKLASS ANKLE BOOTS | 
MOVADO ESPERANZA BRACELET WATCH | FOREVER 21 FISHNET CREW SOCKS

THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY EGO SHOES.

1.jpg

 

THE WORLD IS MADE UP OF TWO TYPES OF WOMEN: THE SIMPLE GIRLS AND THE KATIE GIRLS. I AM A KATIE GIRL. ~ CARRIE BRADSHAW

 

If you're a SATC fan, I'm sure you know by now what episode Carrie said this in, with who, and why. It all comes down to Hubbel and why Robert Redford didn't end up with Barbara Streisand, or as us girls know her as, Katie... the complicated woman with wild curly hair. “Hello! C-C-C-Curly!!” Not all men, but many would prefer being with a simple girl rather than a Katie girl. Why? She's basic... ordinary... nothing special. She won't challenge you or inspire you or make you want to be a better person, but more so has the talent of keeping things light and well... simple. A definite non-core shaking kind of gal. And there's nothing wrong in that. But men I find to be highly intelligent and sophisticated will eventually grow tired with boredom. Wouldn't you rather find someone who touches your soul? What is the phenomenon of some men wanting to have a more quiet, less intense-filled relationship? Let's take a closer look...

4.jpg

There are a variety of reasons. One is that some men have trouble handling a Katie girl. We're passionate, ambitious, and sometimes yes, wildly difficult. Not because it's cool to be a great deal of maintenance required, but because we have opinions and aren't afraid to stand up for them let alone share them with you. We don't have simple minds and nothing about a Katie girl is basic. Ever see that couple walking down the street where the man is drop dead gorgeous, but not the woman? Now she may not be ugly, even far from it, but there's nothing particularly unique about her. She looks like a dime a dozen, and the personality is the same. An attractive man may prefer being with someone less attractive-looking for the sole purpose of being the better looking one. And because they know this, they too realize that these women will also worship the ground they walk on. They need that sort of validation from this kind of girl as they'd never receive it in the same way with a Katie girl. Plus,  a man like this tend to also be extremely insecure or narcissistic, and would also have trouble being with an extremely desirable woman. Just the idea of another man looking at her would piss them off to no end. (Yes, I've been with a guy like this before, and ugh, such a turnoff.) 

The other reason comes to down to simplicity. As mentioned before, the easier the relationship is -  the happier the guy will be in this situation. No muss, no fuss. But how can you grow with someone that you never disagree with let alone shares any kind of objections with? You think they're going to share their hopes & dreams on top? The same goes for women wanting a Katie guy. Is there anything real in that? But I also think not everyone wants fireworks... complications... difficulties. Most of us hardly have the time to see our friends let alone immerse themselves in an intense relationship as such. And how many times do you encounter a love like that? Once? Maybe twice if you live long enough? I think the key to finding and maintaining a successful healthy relationship is definitely figuring out what you want... what works for you, what doesn't. Because no one is exactly the same. 

10.jpg

How do you guys feel about this dynamic? Do opposites really attract, or is it just a disaster waiting to happen? Find out at least, in my opinion. I like to live with no regrets and if making a few mistakes leads me to something great, it's worth looking into right? But only if you're truly into the person. And I mean, TRULY. Lastly, I can't forget to mention a few shout outs with this fun pre-fall look! I'm all about the layering lately so today I matched an Adore Me pajama blouse with a cute summery striped split dress from ROMWE. I love the lavender satin ribbon detail in the back of the blouse, it brings a nice feminine added touch to the overall edgier look. My new backless ankle boots are from Ego Shoes, and they're one of my favorite shoe brands based in the UK! I added fishnet crew socks to complement the layered outfit. And my Movado watch was my mother's, a gift my father once gave her as an anniversary present, and a lesson within itself that you cannot buy back time. Don't forget to check out the entire look by shopping directly down below! You can follow my everyday adventures on Instagram too! And leave those comments down below about how you feel about basic b*tches vs. non-basic b*tches... and/or what you look for in a relationship that works for you :) I hope you all have a great week! 

13.jpg

LOVE & XX'S,

maqandsuz_logo.jpg

SHOP THE LOOK

FOLLOW MAQ + SUZ

OTHER SIMILAR POSTS

Indian Summer – Wear a One Piece Swimsuit into Fall

WEARING: ZAFUL TIED CAMI PLUNGING NECK HIGH CUT SWIMSUIT |
VAGABOND HONEY JAKARTA DENIM PANTS | NA-KD FASHION WORN OUT LEATHER JACKET |
STELLA & DOT LAYERED FEATHER NECKLACE | CALVIN KLEIN RUBY PATENT SLINGBACKS
ZAFUL TRIANGLE CLUTCH | MAD-STYLE IGGY SUNGLASSES

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY ZAFUL AND STELLA & DOT

1.jpg

Happy Wednesday, guys! NYFW is right around the corner (starting after Labor Day) and I am in full swing getting ready for the crazy but fun-filled week! I love this time of year as the weather is changing, but the season doesn't click right away as if it likes the period of transition as well. So today's post is dedicated to those unpredictable days where like a woman, can go from hot to cold in an instant. What better way to keep wearing those adorable (and yes, some racier) one-pieces into fall instead of putting them away now that summer is coming to an end?! These kinds of swimsuits I feel can be styled in so many different ways, I had to share my take on it with you! And this gorgeous army green is one of my favorite colors to wear come autumn season! Come take a look and see how you can still wear your swimsuit come fall! 

4.jpg

The tied cami plunging neck high cut swimsuit from Zaful is not only a showstopper but actually really comfy to wear! I love the back to it too. And the tied-up spaghetti straps? Too cute. I paired the one piece swimsuit with my favorite jeans from Vagabond Honey. I think I'm in need of a new pair as I've literally worn these ones out (or you could say I'm a jeans-addict too... whichever you prefer...) To bring down the oversized look from the denim, I wore a pair of Calvin Klein slingbacks. They are circa 2008, I believe, and yes, you bet your ass I still wear them! I love them so much, especially the ruby color and shape of the shoe. 

7.jpg

I styled the swimsuit with a worn out jacket from Na-kd Fashion to complement with the jeans and edgy look. Plus, tell me a girl who doesn't wear the crap out of leather jackets come fall?! Ha ha ha! Guilty as charged! And I have no shame because a great leather jacket can make any outfit stylish! And let's not forget about this incredible, layered feather necklace I received from Stella & Dot... With three different ways to wear the possibilities are endless! Wear as one cohesive statement or remove the feather strands to wear the top piece for a simple everyday layering look. In this look, I wore it as a whole because I loved each piece so much and couldn't make up my mind! But I'd love to show you the different ways of wearing it, perhaps on Insta-Stories?

10.jpg

Lastly, my triangle clutch is also from Zaful (can you tell I dig this store?) and my round sunnies are from Mad-Style. You can still use my code, 'maqandsuz' for 20% off your purchase today at www.mad-style.com. Also, I get a lot of questions about my makeup, so here's a little more info on today's look: Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Women's Smoker Eye Duo in Smokey Green and Lancôme Matte Shaker High Pigment Liquid Lipstick 272 Energy in Peach.

13.jpg

LOVE & XX'S,

maqandsuz_logo.jpg

SHOP THE LOOK

FOLLOW MAQ + SUZ

OTHER SIMILAR POSTS

Fall Stripes with Red Panama Hat

WEARING: MAD-STYLE FLUTED SLEEVE CREWNECK TOP | MAD-STYLE RED PANANA FLANNEL HAT |
 GENUINE PEOPLE BELL BOTTOM CROP JEANS | PERIDOT BOUTIQUE LOAFER SLIDES |
 MAD-STYLE PEARL MULTI RING CHOKER 

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY MAD-STYLE

1.jpg

Happy Monday, guys! How was everyone's weekend? The past few days I've been struggling with the mundane everyday life responsibilities, just finding the time to do laundry has been challenging! Life happens when you're busy making other plans, am I right?! But I have no complaints, I'm so crazy about what I'm doing in terms of work that I literally forget about the other things in life I also need to be doing (until I'm on my last run of granny panties... then you know you've outdone yourself HA HA) But that's also the great thing about New York City, don't have time to do the laundry? Drop it off somewhere and have someone do it for you. (No, I don't do that but I could...) you can even have someone come and pick up your laundry for you! Aside from my hectic schedule that doesn't seem to be calming down anytime soon, my all-time favorite season is just around the corner and I couldn't wait to get started on my new fall wardrobe! Today's look is all about bold colors and patterns that will super trendy this season, and at the same time keeping the outfit somewhat casual yet super chic! Let's take a closer look at some of my new favorite items I picked up from Mad-Style.

4.jpg

 

Stripes are hot, hot hot right now and will definitely transition into the cooler season. This fluted sleeve crewneck from Mad-Style is my new favorite striped shirt! What I find so adorable about this top are its large bell sleeves! This oversized flounce sleeved top brings such a lovely detail to any casual look, it's perfect with your favorite pair of jeans or maxi skirt. I also love how thin the stripes are as they make it for a flattering fit for anyone! 

7.jpg

One bold color I always wear when feeling fabulously confident is red. I'm an Aries and red is definitely a hue that has burned long and hard in my heart when it comes to my selective choices in color. When I first noticed this Panama hat, I was immediately drawn to its rich color along with a unique belt accent that adds another notch of luxury and style. This buckle adornment is very eye-catching along with the flannel material in this boho, fedora style hat! 

10.jpg

My jeans are from Genuine People and my loafer slides are from Peridot Boutique. The last piece from this look and also from Mad-Style is this gorgeous pearl multi-ring choker necklace. The stunning multi-strand leather necklace with large conjoined rings and large pearl stone in the center I found to also be very unique. The rings come in different gold tone finishes: gold, rose gold, and silver. Are you guys loving the striped shirt, red hat and/or necklace? If you are adoring the Mad-Style pieces as much as I am, use my promo code, 'maqandsuzto get 20% OFF your purchase from Mad-Style! They also carry a variety of accessories such as jewelry, clothes and even dog apparel! You can also shop this look down below. Don't forget to leave a comment on your thoughts from this post! Follow me on Instagram too! Have a great week, everyone! :)

13.jpg

LOVE & XX'S, 

maqandsuz_logo.jpg

SHOP THE LOOK

FOLLOW MAQ + SUZ

OTHER SIMILAR POSTS

Sidecar Cocktail Recipe with Martell Blue Swift

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY MARTELL BLUE SWIFT & FLOWER DELIVERY NYC.

Blue Swift the first-ever Martell VSOP matured in French Oak casks and finished in Kentucky Bourbon casks. Enjoy on its own, over ice, lengthened with a mixer or as a cocktail. Characterized by delicate notes of candied fruit and plum, now complemented by the subtle sweetness of vanilla and toasted oak from bourbon casks. On the nose, I first noticed gourmet aromas such as banana and caramelized pears. Then a subtle sweetness appears, and notes of vanilla & coconut mixed with spicy and menthol are revealed. In the mouth, it is soft, round and gourmand. I taste deep and fresh notes of ginger and white candied fruits such as plums. I then felt the ample, smooth and long toasted oak finish from Kentucky Bourbon casks. Today's post is on the classic take on the 'Sidecar' cocktail with a recipe in partnership with Martell Blue Swift. Continue on to check out the easy-peasy recipe!

Martell Blue Swift Sidecar Cocktail

photos + recipe by   Suzanne Spiegoski   

photos + recipe by Suzanne Spiegoski 

Ingredients:

Sugar

1 1⁄2 oz Martell Blue Swift

3⁄4 oz Cointreau

3⁄4 oz Fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with sugar and set aside.

(Do this a few minutes ahead of time so the sugar can dry and adhere well to the glass.) Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake, and strain into the prepared glass.

Garnish with a slice of lemon.

And look at this truly original bouquet of lovely roses, daisy poms, stock, alstroemeria and monte casino in shades of pink and purple. I received these flowers from Flowers Delivery NYC and they are so beautiful! They totally made my day! And this Martell Blue Shift's VSOP finished in Bourbon Barrels is the perfect start to a great weekend! I have a classic recipe for the traditional sidecar cocktail above, so don't forget to take a peek and download! What are your plans for this weekend? Whatever it may be, hope it's a great one! Cheers :)

LOVE & XX'S,

SHOP THE PRODUCTS 

FOLLOW MAQ + SUZ

OTHER SIMILAR POSTS