Building traditions in Ukraine

  • Choosing of the place for a new house


    The choosing of the place was one of the most important actions that were connected to the accommodation. For the solving of this problem people took into account a lot of factors: distance of the new house to the street, landscape, the position of the house according to the sides of the world and so on. The complex of the ritualism which was connected to the building of the houses exists today in a form of segmentary elements and is usual for a small part of the citizens in the villages.


    For the new house people tried to find such a place that corresponded a rage of demands. They are:


    • The place should be peaceful and have a good landscape
    • The place should be situated on the hill
    • It should be without any dew in the mornings and without trees
    • There people should have a possibility to build some household outbuildings
    • The entrance into the house should be situated in the southern or eastern part of the house
    • In that place should have lived cattle
    • It should be the place with a comfort drive and the place where the household outbuildings and the vegetable garden could be situated near the river


    But people in Ukraine had a lot of interdictions for the building of the new house. People could not buy a house:


    • Smaller than an old one
    • On site of the old house that leaned even slightly
    • On site of the house of a family where there were alcoholics, thieves, where people were very ill or died because of the epidemic or even were killed
    • On site of the church or another sacral place
    • On the roads, crossroads, waste grounds, stones or sloughs
    • At the place where trees grew, a cellar or a hole was
    • At the place where the rain water was gathering
    • On site of the houses that was destroyed with the lighting hit


    People asked as well old people and fortune-tellers how to find a nice place for the building of the new house. It could happen that they had to sow the rye on site of the future house. If the rye grew well it meant  that the place was good.


    There were in Ukraine other traditions as well how people could find a good place for the new house. People found a place where they wanted to build a house, brought stones to the corners of the future house and hid the rye under the stones. In the middle of the future house people stood a chair or a table and put a cross, some bread, some salt and water on it. The next morning was the time to check if all this stuff was untouched. In the case everything was in its place and there was even more water than in the evening, it was a good sign.


    People could leave some wool in a pan or saucepan as well there where they wanted to build a house and in the morning they came to see if it was dry or wet. If the wool was wet it meant that the place was not good for the building. All the magic rituals were led by the men.


    Choosing of the time for laying of the house


    It was an important supposition for the building of the house. Laying of the foundation stone took traditionally place in spring or summer. People started the building process on Friday (it was in Podolye, the northwest part of Ukraine) and better if it was a full moon. In the other parts of Ukraine good days for the start were Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.


    The leap year was a bad year for the building. The high days were not matching days as well. An old tradition was to cook a good meal and to give a treat to all the builders, relatives and neighbours. Such a lunch took place on site of the future house.