Preparing for the “second holiday”: Malanka fell in love with Vasyl

The second Christmas Holiday – St. Vasyl or the Old New Year (January 14) was preceded by Malanka’s Eve (or Melanka because of the Blessed Melaniya). On this holiday people cooked not lenten but meat dishes. On the evening, unlike on Christmas Eve, girls also were allowed to go carol singing. There are many household rituals associated with this holiday.    For example, after the festive meal, people would bless apiary and cattle for the New Year.

Girls in this evening would tell fortunes. They would put a comb under the pillow and, when going to bed, would whisper:

"Oh my betrothed, come and comb my hair!" It was believed that they would marry those they saw in dream. People in this evening would also try to predict weather: "stars in the sky – good harvest of mushrooms and peas", "soft snow – good harvest, and if it’s warm – the summer will be rainy", "frost and snow – good harvest of grain, good human and animal health, and if it’s warm and no snow – poor harvest and diseases", "ice on trees – good harvest of fruits", "starry sky – chicken will have many eggs", "thaw on Melanka – warm summer should be expected".

Transcarpathian historian and researcher Yuriy Chori says that it was believed that Malanka was in love with Vasyl and was preparing for a meeting with him. Therefore, in the evening it was not allowed to sit or sleep on the stove. The house had to be neat, therefore the day before, they would whitewash it.

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