All Slavic traditions and folk traditions include flowers especially during Kupala and Noc Kupala, but Ukraine exceeds them all in the abundant uses of flowers and symbolic flowers. The Ukrainian Wreath Vinok (вінок) is a crown made of wild flowers and herbs which is collected in the traditional ways.
There are different types of wreaths: a wedding wreath, a wreaths of love, monastic wreath, wreath of hope, wreath of devotion and kupala wreaths. The wreath of love was not only for marriage ceremonies but also divorce ceremonies. In Ukrainian culture the wreath was traditionally worn worn by maidens (unmarried) as a pagan tradition.
In the more prominent neopaganism groups today during Kupala, more and more wreaths are returning back before religious influences and are worn by women of all ages. The wreath dates back to the old East Slavic customs that predates Christianization of Rus which still remains a valued part of Ukrainian national creative attire, worn on festive occasions and on holy days.
Flowers are a part of all their celebrations, traditional folklore, craft embroidery, women and their ceremonies, and even painted interior and exterior home decorations. They mark the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The pagans honor Lada and her daughter Lely and the wreaths are in their honor. Midsummer is the time to gather flowers and herbs to not only make wreaths but for healing herbs and for prosperity.
Some of the most common are the crown for summer solstice called Kupala and are made with cornflower, marigold, saffron, parsley, parsnip, Corollas mint, lovage, marjoram, cornflower and sage, which are all protections against shadows.
In the full traditional Ukrainian wreaths, there should be 12 flowers: Wormwood, immortal, lynx, cornflower, chamomile, cherry blossom, apple, gooseberries, mallow, peonies, cornflower and baptismal bells. Wormwood is a symbol of inertia and immortal, a symbol of the immortality of the human soul. The cherry blossoms are a symbol of maternal love.
The wreath varies in many of the regions as young women throughout the country wore various headdresses made with yarn, ribbon, coins, feathers and grasses, but these all had the same symbolic meaning. In parts of central and eastern Ukraine, the flowers were raised in the center front and multicolored ribbons were attached to the back.
Custom weaved wreaths denote the seasons as the customs came to Ukraine from prehistoric times and garlands with flowers and herbs are one of the oldest Ukrainian symbols. In ancient Goddess images of women, she wore headdress of flowers, grasses, herbs and branches in her shamanic beginnings.
Putting your wreaths into water is to tell your future and personal guidance but putting a wreath in the Sea and it will tell the fortune of your soul. Setting wreaths on the water usually accompanies folk songs, because that was the first honoring of the first goddess.
Its more popular today to wear the casual versions of the vinok. It is not uncommon to see women in Kiev wearing a headband embellished with flowers during the summer as a fashion statement or Ukrainian pride. Additionally, the growing popularity of the vinok has contributed to the increase of vinok specialists, as well as the demand of local florists
Ukraine flowers , herbs, color of ribbon and their symbolic meanings…
Braided wreath – Symbol of prosperity and fertility.
Clover – Symbol of fidelity;
has the magical power to reconnect.
Elecampane – Root of nine forces,
strengthens and returns health.
Fern (Rozmai herb) – Attracts love.
Garlic – Protection, also weaved into
braids on the bride crown before the wedding.
Hatchets – Field grass is a symbol of healthy fields, cornfields and abundance.
Iris – Peace and vitality.
King-flower – Vastness.
Krinov (lily) – Magical symbol of the feminine because she is essentially moist energy. The ancient name of the flower Krinov means “well” as it treats heart ailments.
Kalina (raspberry, rose) – Three sisters, acrimony as a form of magical contact, when there is a prick of blood. Overcoming obstacles, after which comes the miracle and magical dream as the likeness of eternity.
Loboda – Symbol of misery and poverty.
Lyubka – a symbol of beauty and youth doable.
Lovage – Love, harmony. Bathe in lovage.
Lions (sunflower) – Symbol of fertility, growth and fruiting, and, hence, yield.
Marigold – Mans beauty.
Narcissus – Protects ones health.
Nechuy-wind – Boundaries
Oregano – Symbol of maternal
love and care of children.
Pansies – Symbol of love of family.
Parsley (wormwood) – Spring
Pauline – Bitterness of life, is protection against shadows.
Peppermint – Guardian of children and their health.
Peonies – Flowering of maturity.
Poppies (red)- Beauty, purity and magical forces of protection.
Rozsa (Rose) – Symbol of goodwill, prosperity, and swarming bees.
Red mug – Beauty and cleanliness.
Roman Herb Forest (chamomile) – Love.
Rouget (Rose hips, mallow, rue) – Glory.
Ruta – Sadness and a bitter life.
Vasylko (marigolds) – Ceremonies.
Violets – Joy.
Voloshky (blue cornflower) – Symbol of beauty and goodness, modesty and tenderness.
White Lilac – Family life.
Wreath of Roses -Symbol of health
Colors of Ribbons
A wreath of flowers and ribbons protects she who wears that halo on her head, it has a magic. Our grandmothers knew and still know this magic well, lot of different secrets of when and how to weave a wreath passed down from her grandmother.
Colorful Wreaths of Magic which is the union of Mother Earth with the Spirit Sky (Sun) as the divine marriage of the powerful belief of immortality – the way of Love. A corolla of intertwined ribbons of different colors, each have meaning:
Light brown: Mother Earth
Yellow: Sun, Blue: Water
Orange: Bread, Purple: Wisdom
On the left side of the white ribbon is gold thread as the sun, and on the right, silver, as the moon (month).
Red Colors (ribbons and mug, carnation, rowan, viburnum) – Divination and charms, blood and fire. On the one hand it symbolizes beauty, joy and love of life, the other, vengefulness and destruction. Red is used for charms, tends to counteract evil spell.
Popular color in Pysanky eggs and also using red thread, beads and flowers in divination embroidery. The best way to protect children from evil spirits and evil souls in dreams, is to tie the hands of a child something red.
Green – Spring, beauty of nature, transformation, envy.
Purple & Green – Wisdom and caution.
Red & Blue – Fidelity and love.
White & red – Reward and respect.
White (ribbons and flowers) – Purity, innocence, joy. White is associated with daylight and life. Our ancestors believed in the relationship with the divine worlds. White robes are worn women in circles and by ancient priests or magicians. During the first crop of our ancestors wore a clean white shirt. White is also associated with death. Our parents, grandparents deceased wore white clothes and covered with a white shroud. White robes and ghosts are dead people.
Black – Night, Powerful Ancient moon women. Yellow – Sun, gold. In ancient times perceived as sunlight. Blue – Water, eternity. It unearthly secrets of the world. Symbolizes honesty, good reputation and loyalty. In mermaids cold and recalls the shade.