In August Ukrainians celebrate three Saviour (Spas) days: the Savior of the Honey Feast Day on the 14th of August, the Savior of the Apple Feast on the 19th of August, and the Savior of the Nut Feast Day on the 29th of August. These feasts have a pre-Christian origin and symbolize the end of summer and the start of the harvesting season.
The Savior of the Honey Feast Day is one of most beloved summer feasts, marking the start of the Dormition fast that lasts two weeks. On the Savior of the Honey Feast Day Ukrainians traditionally go to church to consecrate bouquets, honey, and fruits to give them healing power.
What to put in a basket on the Savior of the Honey Feast Day?
Each product has a sacred meaning.
Traditionally, in the basket Ukrainians put honey (symbol of home welfare), bread (symbol of family), horseradish (symbol of faith firmness), salt (symbol of strength of mind), as well as different bakery with honey and poppy seeds.
Earlier the ancestors of Ukrainian beekeepers on this very day started to reap the harvest since by this time comb sells were already filled with honey. Then people gathered near rivers and lakes, ate honey, sang songs, and spend time together.
This holiday is loved for its yummy delicacies fondly cooked by Ukrainian hostesses. The obligatory attributes are honey and poppy seeds — these ingredients are put into various pies, pastries, rolls, and buns.
There is a belief that the first spoon of consecrated honey has a magic force. If the first person who eats honey makes a wish, it will 100% come true.
The Savior of the Honey Feast Day is a holy day, which has specific traditions and taboos.
It is forbidden to swim on this day, since you can get drowned or become sick. At this time algal blooms, and this can lead to different diseases.
The Dormition fast starts on this day, that’s why it’s necessary to follow specific food rules.
It’s not allowed to whoop it up since the noise can frighten bees which sip honey.
You should not quarrel with your family and relatives or wish something bad to happen to other people, since everything will come back like a boomerang.
You should not tidy your house on this day. It’s recommended to clean everything up beforehand.
Don’t forget about making a magic talisman, which Ukrainians call makoveichyk
Makoveichyk is a bouquet made from flowers and herbs. Each of the components has a particular meaning:
Guelder – symbol of beauty and womanhood;
Sunflower – symbol of hope and faith;
Marigold – symbol of health;
Mint – symbol of peace of mind and conciliation;
Wormwood – symbol of peace making;
Poppyheads – symbol of fertility.
You can also put some fresh greenery, which symbolizes gladness and faith in immortality. The bouquets are brought home from the church and kept next to the icons until spring.