Today is the celebration of Malanka!
Malanka is one of the oldest surviving celebrations/traditions from the land of my ancestors: Ukraine.
The Malanka recalls a time Mother’s Earth’s daughter (often called “Lada” or “Malanka”) was captured by the Evil One and taken below the earth. Because of this horrible capture and deceit (brought on largely by greed, envy, and lust), the earth had fallen into a perpetual winter of suffering, silence, and cold.
Various versions of the story have differing details of her escape and release from the underworld. One of the most common is that her Brother, Basil or Vasil, descended into the underworld, defeating the Evil One (who often is identified as Malanka’s Uncle) and returning Malanka to the surface of the Earth.
With the return of the beautiful Earth Mother’s daughter, the endless winter was defeated, and the spring could once again return.
During the Soviet Communist subjugation of the Ukrainian Nation and people following the Marxist/Leninist Revolution (roughly 1921-1991), much like in the legend, the Malanka celebration was mostly forbidden–and certainly not officially sanctioned as it is now that Ukraine is free!
In our recent years, I am sure that many of us can relate to the “endless winter” of what has become of our joys, happiness, community, and general health and well-being. Indeed, Malanka was (officially and even officiously) cancelled last year and this year as well–as are so many aspects of our lives a darkness/coldness has fallen hard on our lives.
So, this year, I hope for a real Malanka, to reappear and happen: the beautiful daughter of Mother Earth will be set free from her dark, cold prison, so that we can once again dance, sing, plant crops, laugh, celebrate, and otherwise enjoy the beauty of our too-short lives on this wonderful planet.
Happy Malanka 2022, friends. Do what you can to keep the life-force of hope, goodness, and freedom in your hearts. The winter will end; spring will return; music and dancing will again return to bless our lives with sunlight, joy, love, and liberty.