« 2024. # 1 (175)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2024. № 1 (175), 42—55

UDK 398.332.4(477.87+438+437.67)

DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2024.01.042



  • ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9287-8336
  • Leading Scientific Editor,
  • The Institute of Ethnology of the National
  • Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,
  • 15, Svobody Avenue, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail: horbal.m@gmail.com

Abstract. The historical and ethnographic region of Lemkivshchyna was located on the Polish-Ukrainian-Slovak borderland. At the end of the Second World War, the Lemkos were deported from their ancestral lands. Since that time, Lemkas have been spread throughout Ukraine and all over the world. That is why a special place in the study of Lemki culture is occupied by the study of folk customs and rites, which are one of the oldest and most important forms of the spiritual life of Lemki as a component of the Ukrainian ethnos.

The article continues the author’s cycle of folklore and ethnographic publications that relate to the winter rituals of the Lemkiv region.

The topic is relevant, as it has not yet been the subject of detailed scientific consideration in the proposed comprehensive coverage.

The object of the research is the pre-Christmas cycle of holidays in Lemkiv region, and the subject of the research is the structure and local features of religious holidays in December (according to the Julian calendar). The traditions and rites that were held in Lemkivshchyna in the period from the Introduction to Anna are described in detail. The research was written on the basis of the stories of the old residents of Lemkivshchyna, as well as literary sources, which are referred to in the text. In the conclusions, the author notes the high spiritual and Christian consciousness and everyday culture of the Lemki people, created both by the church and by folk traditions.

The entire pre-Christmas cycle, particularly the December holidays, was filled with events and activities where girls and boys were looking for a partner for their future married life. After all, the spring, summer and autumn periods of Lemko life were periods of daily hard work.

The research methodology is based on the application of the principles of historicity, scientific objectivity and structural and typological analysis of folklore and ethnographic artifacts; in the process of studies and scientific qualification of the involved materials, field ethnographic research methods were used, in particular interviewing respondents. A number of considered examples are introduced into scientific circulation for the first time.

Keywords: Catherine, Andrew the First-Called, Naum, Varvara, Nicholas, Anna, saints, temple holiday, polasnik, traditions, rites, events.

Received 3.01.2024


  • Varhol, Yosif. (1991). Folk customs of the winter period. Lemki national calendar for 1988—1991 (Pp. 71—76). Retrieved from: http://lemko.org/pdf/KLS1991.pdf [in Ukrainian].
  • Ardan, Volodymyr. (2011). My native Polyany. Touches to the history of the village. Lviv [in Ukrainian].
  • Holy Great Martyr Varvara in Ukrainian old prints. Retrieved from: http://www.nbuv.gov.ua/node/5584 [in Ukrainian].
  • Obituary. Retrieved from: http://pc.studyty.org.ua/content/blogsection/10/15/ [in Ukrainian].
  • Puliy, Ivan, & Shenderovskyi, Vasyl. (Ed). (1997). Collection of works. (Vol. III). Prayer book. Psalter. Reprint: Prayer book for the Russian people. Second enlarged edition. Vienna, 1871. Kyiv: Rada [in Ukrainian].
  • Horbal, Maria. (Ed.). (2004). Christmas in Lemkivshchyna. Folklore and ethnographic research. Lviv: Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine [in Ukrainian].
  • Horbal, Maria. (Ed.). (2009). Christmas tree. Lemki Christmas legends and tales. Lviv: Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine [in Ukrainian].
  • Gorbal, Maria. (2011). Christmas rituals of Lemkivshchyna: monograph. Lviv: Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine [in Ukrainian].
  • Gorbal, Maria. (2019). Lemki «vechirky» («vechyrky», «vechurky», «pryadky»). Lviv: Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine [in Ukrainian].
  • Shmayda, Mykhailo. (1992). I congratulate you. Calendar rites of the Ruthenians-Ukrainians of Czecho-Slovakia (Vol. 1). Bratislava; Pryashiv [in Ukrainian].
  • Syvytskyi, Mykola. (1988). Andrew Lemkivshchyna Earth. People. History. Culture (Part II). New York; Paris; Sydney; Toronto [in Ukrainian].
  • Traditions and omens of Ukrainians during December holidays. Retrieved from: https://uaua.top/5309/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=urkfb&utm_campaign=gruden&fbclid=IwAR2p48h_IObXc7CvXQHzntSzmgynvsqQscTDmv7UNWR_dgKb5VWUuumeH18 [in Ukrainian].
  • Protoevangelium of James. Retrieved from: http://kyiv-pravosl.info/2022/01/10/protoevanhelie-yakova/ [in Ukrainian].
  • God’s law. (1996). Textbook for family and school. Kyiv: Fantasy LTD [in Ukrainian].
  • Holidays in December: traditions, omens and divination. Retrieved from: https://archive.svitua.org/item/8131-sviata-u-hrudni-tradytsii-prykmety-i-vorozhinnia.html [in Ukrainian].
  • Krasovsky, Ivan. (1993). Surnames of Galician Lemkos in the 18th century. Based on the materials of the Josephine Land Cadastre of  1787—1788. Lviv [in Ukrainian].


Our authors
Wax candle as ukrainian Christmas and epiphany ritualistic text
For the first time in native ethnology the article has brought some results of special study in sign functionality of a wax candle under the context of Ukrainian Christmas and Epiphany ritualistic text (ritualism of Christmas Eve, New Year, Epiphany Eve and Feast of Epiphany). The study has stated extremely high semiotic position of a wax candle as projection of Sun, mediator between the spheres of sacral and prophane elements, symbolic analogue of human existence, apotropy, cultural symbol re-establishing borders of acculturated space.
Read »

On field exploration of russian and belarusian ethnologists and etnolinguists in Ukrainian Polisia 1945—1980s
In the study based on a wide range of literary materials have been comprehensively characterised field research in Polisia of Ukraine, performed by Russian and Belarusian ethnologists during 1945—1980s as well as Moscow ethnolinguists and other researchers from ethnologic centres of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in the course of realization of Ethnolinguistic Atlas of Polisia program. Particular attention has been paid to geography, methods, themes and research results of scientific projects.
Read »

Traditional folk clothes of velikobychkovsky hutsuly of XIX — the first half of XX century
In the study based upon numerous field materials, literature sources as well as ethnographic, historio-cultural and regional museum collections has been performed complex analysis in traditional folk clothes by Hutzul population of Velyky Bychkiv village in Transcarpathian region. Detailed descriptions of femi­nine and masculine clothing complexes of the mentioned area have been presented. In characterizing of those main attention has been paid to the detail of cut in separate components of dress; cut of feminine shirt has been added as an illustration.
Read »

Boikos’ pandemonium: categories of evil deceased
In the article have been presented some research-work on peculiarities of Boikos’ traditional demonological notions as for so-called evil deceased; on the basis of field records and ethnological literary sources quite a number of scum categories have been defined as well as essential habits, modes of behavior and functions of these personages of people’s demonology.
Read »