Residents in the town of Vashkivtsi in Ukraine's Chernihiv region are celebrating the holiday of Malanka. Hundreds of people dress up, walk down the streets, and greet each other with New Year wishes. The feast continues for two days
The celebration of Pereberia in Vashkivtsi is more than a century old. Its central characters have changed over time, but the main ones have remained: Malanka, Vasyl, and the bears.
This year, local Andriy Perepelytsia dressed up in a costume representing a Roma community member. He’s been participating in the events for at least a decade.
“I am wearing a traditional Roma people costume. It consists of a skirt, a jacket. It’s a military pea coat or a cape. At the top, there are bells, because Roma people liked being loud. And a mask – which covers the face. It’s a traditional mask,” he said.
According to local traditions, the men dress up and the women watch.
The men wearing bear costumes had it the hardest. They put on huge pieces of sheepskin, tightly tied around arms, legs, and waists.
“We tie our legs with straw ropes. We feel stronger and more confident and to be able to walk for a long time,” one said.
The theatrical performance featured several hundred people. They danced and sang.
Participants of the Pereberia go from house to house and wish residents a happy New Year. Ahead of them was an event, which men had been waiting for the entire year – the fight.
Traditionally, the fighting starts at midnight. Two groups keep wrestling until one wins.
In Vashkivtsi, the celebrations of Malanka last two days, ending today.