In Rakhiv district first shepherds were sent off to meadows
On the first day of May in Velyky Bychkiv in Rakhiv district, a traditional feast of sending off shepherds to mountain valleys took place. Of course, the event can be called ‘sending off’ only conditionally, because in fact, on this day the herd has not been taken to the mountains. But other ceremonies were solemnly held – measuring (milking sheep to count how much cheese an owner will receive at the end of the season after milking cattle) and weaning lambs from adult sheep. The celebration took place in the mountains with "cooking" cheese, Hutsul music and mass festivities.
During the last five years sheep farming at Rakhiv district has started reviving actively. Men say, the conditions are favorable, and the money is not bad. It is true that young people are less willing to look after sheep – they are deterred by isolation from civilization and difficult working conditions: waking up early (sometimes at 2 a.m.), milking several hundred sheep three times a day, grazing in the rain, thunderstorms and hail, protecting flocks from wild beasts – these are all responsibilities of shepherds.
At the end of the season shepherds will give the owners 9-10 kilograms of cheese. To produce one kilogram of cheese, they say, one needs 6-7 liters of milk.
There were some surprises during the celebration. Thus, all shepherds teams were presented gifts from the people's deputy Vasyl Petyovka - shoulders with all the necessary things which one would need in the mountains - an ax, flashlight, raincoat, jar and a pot.
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