Malanka-fest in Chernivtsi: How Bukovina celebrates the Shchedryi Vechir, or Generous Evening

18 January 2022, 05:08 AM

The festival of Malanka began in the western Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi on Jan. 15, with about 30 groups from different villages in the historical Bukovina region, which straddles Ukraine and Romania, gathering to celebrate the traditional festival.

Malanka, also known as Shchedryi Vechir – the Generous Evening – is typically held on Old New Year’s Eve on Jan. 13 - the day before New Year’s Day in the Julian calendar, which is still in used in Orthodox Christian traditions. In Bukovina, Malanka-fest often has elements of a carnival, with participants dressing up as bears, Romani, traditional horsemen, old men and old women, representations of saints and the devil, and so on.

Video of day

Photo: NV

In addition, modern-day characters are sometimes included, and in some villages, decorated automobile floats and theatrical stages are also used in the celebrations.

Celebration of Malanka-fest is resuming after a two year break due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021. The organizers said that only participants with a COVID vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test will be allowed to participate in Malanka-fest. City authorities allocated UAH 400,000 (approx $14,000) for the festival.

NV visited the festival, and shares the most eye-catching pictures from the Generous Evening celebration in Chernivtsi.

The carnival procession started at noon. Festival participants walked around the city center twice, starting from the Philharmonic Square and walking to the Central Square.

The procession was made up of people dressed in bright folk costumes and various creative outfits and costumes.

After that, folk music performances were held in the city’s Philharmonic Square. An online vote was held afterward on the Malanka-Fest official website, letting people vote on the best bands of the event.

Photo: NV

On the second day of the festival, the Ivan Mykolaichuk Cinema Art Center screened a documentary named “Malanka – Culture of the People.”

Malanka-fest in Chernivtsi was founded in 2011 by the tourism promotion NGO Palitra Bukovyny. In 2016, the festival raised money for Ukrainian volunteers fighting in the Donbas conflict in the east of the country.

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