Making Christmas Spiders
For centuries, a straw spider was a necessary Christmas decoration in Ukrainian homes. Hung in front of the door as if guarding the home from evil spirits
Carols, ornaments called spiders, and other Christmas traditions. Employees at the Lviv house-museum of Ivan Franko demonstrated how to decorate a home in the traditional Ukrainian manner.
One of those present, Nika, came from England to her Ukrainian grandmother’s to celebrate the holidays. She said she wants to learn more about Ukrainian traditions so that she can tell her classmates.
” We strung together straws on a string and it turned out like a spider,” she said, “I’ll probably take it with me back to England to remind me of Ukraine.”
Before weaving a Christmas spider, the straw is soaked in hot water so it doesn’t break.
“We take 12 identical straws for one spider. First, we create a diamond of four, and then add two more straws to each corner,” craftsman Volodymyr Myshulivskiy said, “when we weave it all together, we will have a spider.
For centuries, the straw spider was a necessary Christmas decoration in Ukrainian homes. It was hung in front of the door as if guarding the home against evil spirits.
“I came to this master class to make a spider so that it could protect everyone who comes to my home so that no evil is in the house,” said one participant named Dorofeiya.
Another necessary addition to Ukrainian Christmas decorations is a “didukh.” It was brought into the house on Christmas Eve.
“A Ukrainian didukh is a sheaf of cereal crops: rye, wheat and any kind of grain that represented a good harvest. Above all, it acted as a Ukrainian family tree, and a symbol of the unity of generations of Ukrainians,” Ivan Franko Museum Director Bohdan Tykholoz said.
Beginning at Christmas, the didukh stood in the house at the most honorable place – under the icons, right until the Epiphany.