03 February 2010

Aspects of Ukrainian Culture

What particularly fascinated Jeff and I about this grave yard was that it was placed on the top of a Scythian mound. For all the years we have traveled Ukraine it is the first we have found atop the many mounds that dot the countryside, particularly in Southern Ukraine. "The Scythians were members of a nomadic people originally OF IRANIAN STOCK WHO MIGRATED FROM CENTRAL ASIA TO SOUTHERN RUSSIA IN THE 8TH AND 7TH CENTURIES BC."(http://history-world.org/scythians.htm). If you are a history buff like me, you can read more about the Scythians in this short Wikepedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians. Their map shows Ukraine to be in the area called Sarmatia.
A new freshly buried grave yet to receive it's headstone.
One of the traditions here is that of a memorial day, much as we have in the west, but similarities stop there. The weeks prior to this day in May people come to clean up the grave sites from the fall and winter. This is when they plant new flowers. On their memorial day they come for a picnic which is why you have this little table and benches. They drink vodka and toast to the lost relative and then they leave food and drink on the grave site to appease the spirit of the dead.
This old grave is left uncared for because the custom in Ukraine is the relatives care for the grave sites individually. The slanted lower bar indicates they were of the Orthodox faith, which since independence of Ukraine has rather become the "state" religion.

Forgotten grave, or maybe the relatives are all gone now as well. Tiles stacked? I have no idea why.

1 comment:

  1. OK, keep posting pictures and making us homesick!! -- and as I love history, when I get a chance I'll check out the website you suggested


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