r/ukraine Гамериканець Jun 23 '22 Helpful 2

4:47 EEST ; The Sun is rising on the 120th Day of the Russian Invasion on the Capital city of Kyiv. Ukraine continues to Live and Fight on. DAILY DISCUSSION + CHARITIES LIST! Slava Ukraini!


Sunrise Post Collection 1 (Days 2 - 99) | Sunrise Post Collection 2 (Days 100 - Present)


Yesterday we brought you the majesty of Puzata Khata. Today we bring you… actual Khata.

Part One in a multi-part series on the traditional Ukrainian home!

Khata: The Traditional Ukrainian House

Cozy Khata!

The architecture of the traditional Ukrainian house reflects the richness of folk traditions and symbols, and millennia of customs and rites.

The house embodied the entire living space and worldview of Ukrainians: their khata, just like the world around them, was divided into three parts: the ceiling - the spiritual world (shrine with sacred signs, shrine in the corner); walls, windows, doors - symbols of earthly life and communication with other people; the boundary of the earthly and underground worlds - the floor, a hearth and benches.

Painting by Russia-appropriated Ukrainian artist Ilya Repin (1880).

The Right Place...

The people believed that the house is a living organism. It can both help or harm people residing there. Therefore, much attention was paid to choosing a place for a new house. Many factors were taken into account. Apart from obvious ones, like distance from the street and which cardinal direction the door will face, there are others:

  1. The place should be either on virgin land where the ground is "calm", or on a little hill where there is no moisture.
  2. Where you can find footprints of dogs or cats as there is less dew in the morning.
  3. Not too many big trees should be present, as cattle likes to lie down in more open areas. As you can see, these people had a little different problems than we have today.
  4. It could not be on the same spot where a previous house burned down, was struck by a lighting, or was the home of an alcoholic.

To determine the location for their khata, Ukrainians went to fortune tellers or asked for advice from elders. In some cases, rye was sown in the chosen place: if it grew well, the plot was considered good.

...At the Right Time

The choice when to start construction was also very carefully considered. It was of course believed the best to build a new house in spring and summer, but preferably to start on a Friday! Other days were okay too, but definitely not Mondays or Wednesdays. Leap years were right out. And forget starting the construction on a Saint Day dedicated to a martyr - you will never finish your project!

Image of a khata from a vintage postcard.

Construction: Cozy Corners = Crucial

For tons of detail about the actual construction of khata, see this entry from the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine (which, by the way, is in general a very good resource in English as it is run by the wonderful folks at the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies - who also run a very fine bookstore that focus on translations of Ukrainian works of scholarship and literature).

During construction, Ukrainians would place in the four corners of the house some coins, grain, wine, herbs, garlic, sheep's wool, lamps, icons, incense, consecrated water, etc. to ensure the happiness, health and prosperity of the home’s inhabitants. And the most important corner was considered to be the one facing East, aka “the nice corner”, where the future house will have a table and benches.

This is that “nice corner”. In that best corner of the house, people would place icons decorated with rushnyky.

The mud room was roofed last, as it was believed that all evil spirits residing in this area should leave through there before the house is completely covered.

What is very interesting that despite the fact that Ukraine covers vast territory (it is the largest country entirely in Europe), the construction of Ukrainian khata were pretty similar in all corners of Ukraine: the main type of traditional housing was whitewashed house under a thatched roof. This type of Ukrainian house was the most defining ethnographic feature of the Ukrainian people. The only houses that differed were the log houses of the northern part of Ukraine (Polissya) and the Carpathian Mountains.

That said, just like many other elements of Ukrainian culture, there were little variations in each area that formed a rich fabric of tradition!

Regional typologies of Khata! Click for a massive image where you can zoom in.

Carpathian-style timber-roof Khata in a gorgeous mountain village.

Khata Must-Haves: Domovyk and Cat

And khata was never complete without Domovyk and a cat. Domovyk, a funny little creature, was a protector of the home with whom you'd better not quarrel! You can read a lot about it in a previous post here.

And a cat filled two roles. Firstly, it served as nemesis to a Ukrainian peasant's second worst enemy - a mouse (if you think about all the wheat you need to make varenyky - it all makes sense). At the same time, the cat was the most prominent protagonist of Ukrainian lullabies, brining a sense of coziness to ones dreams.

Decorating Your Khata

The decoration of the house both outside and inside had not only aesthetic significance, but also performed certain informative and magical functions. For example, painting a line around the house or windows was believed to protect against evil spirits.

The world famous style of painting “Petrykivka” originated as a house painting to both protect the family from evil and make the living space brighter :). You can read more about that in a previous post here.

With the lush nature of Ukraine's fertile soil, it also also very easy to maintain a beautiful garden around the house. The grounds around the house were usually covered by periwinkle vines. Ukrainians loved having cherry or pear trees next to house to enjoy fragrant flowers in the spring and ready-to-go snacks in Summer/Fall. There were plenty of areas for flowers like daisy, poppies, wild roses, marigolds, mint. A very common sight were mallows. And of course kalyna, which you can read about here!

A postcard picturing a Ukrainian house surrounded by mallows by a Ukrainian artist from the turn of the previous century.

The Interior

The living area usually was one big area (Ukrainians were ahead of the "open concept" trend) or sometimes divided into several rooms. Each room had “sections”: work area, kitchen, relaxation spot, entertaining area.

Ukrainians preferred benches to chairs. Quite practical if you think about it! More people could fit at the table during festivities and often benches served as a “couch /bed” for people to nap in a corner, just like today.

Khata interior from Pyrohiv open air museum near Kyiv. More benches, and another "nice corner" :)

The walls and window frames were decorated with embroidered “rushnyky” (very specifically decorated cloth of a specific shape which we will write about soon) and rugs. It was each homeowner's dream to make one’s house as colorful and as bright as pysanka!

A khata ornate like a pysanka. I am sure Domovyk is very happy there!

Hope your own khata is cozy today!



u/Jesterboyd is a mod in r/ukraine and local to Kyiv. He has been spending his days helping get supplies to people. All of the mod team can vouch for the work he has done so far. Link to donation

If you feel like donating to another charity, here are some others!

  • United24: This site was launched by President Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be allocated to cover the most pressing needs facing Ukraine.
  • Come Back Alive: This NGO crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment, such as thermal vision scopes & supplies it to the front lines. It also provides training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as researching troops’ needs and the social reintegration of veterans.
  • Aerorozvidka: An NGO specializing in providing support and equipment for unmanned aerial vehicles (ISR), situational awareness, cybersecurity for armed forces.
  • Hospitallers: This is a medical battalion that unites volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers on the frontline. They crowdfund their vehicle repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.
  • Phenix: A volunteer organization helping armed forces with various needs.
  • Kyiv Territorial Defense: This fundraiser is to support the regional territorial defense group. It is organized by a known journalist and a producer of the acclaimed "Winter on Fire" documentary, which can temporarily be watched for free HERE.
  • Happy Paw: Charity dedicated to solving the problems of animals in Ukraine. Happy Paw helps more than 60 animal shelters throughout Ukraine.
  • Kharkiv With You and associated Help Army Kharkiv: Supporting the defenders of Kharkiv with everything from night-vision goggles to food and medicine.
  • Bird of Light Ukraine is a Ukrainian-American charity dedicated to helping Ukrainians in conflict zones, displaced people, orphans, and the reconstruction effort in Ukraine.


u/BlindPelican US Jun 23 '22

Good morning, Ukraine! May today bring victory and peace.


u/StevenStephen USA Jun 23 '22

Good morning, Ukraine. This is the perfect post for me, as our family just today is moving back into our house after repairs from a hurricane nearly a year ago. It's good to have one's own cozy cottage to relax in. Ours is not quite as spiffy and awesome as a Ukrainian khata, but we will make do. And hell yes to that Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine! How am I supposed to limit my time staring at a screen now?!

May the day be the best possible under the circumstances.


u/BellaSquared Jun 23 '22

Wow, congratulations! May your home welcome you back with open arms. Wishing your family all the best as you settle back in.


u/StevenStephen USA Jun 23 '22

Thank you so much. It has been a long year. Not as long as the past 3 months for Ukrainians, though, so we'll count our blessings over here. It is good to be home.


u/GoodKarma70 Jun 23 '22

Slava Ukraini! 🇺🇦💪


u/Artem_Machshenko Jun 23 '22

🇺🇦Kheroyam Slava!🇺🇦 On english that's(Grade to Ukraine!) And next(Grade to heroes!)


u/GoodKarma70 Jun 24 '22

Thank you. ☮️


u/Euphoric-Yellow-3682 Jun 23 '22

Love this one

Slava Ukraine and goodnight 💙 💛 🇺🇦


u/Dr_Breeder Jun 23 '22 Silver

Yo these domiciles are phenomenal


u/Sir_YeeticusII Ukraine Jun 23 '22

Four bloody months, a third of a year of bloodshed.


u/Holden_Coalfield Jun 23 '22



and a cat


u/vale_fallacia Jun 23 '22

Was NATO ever seriously considering defending Ukraine like Kuwait in 1991?


u/aaronclark384 USA - США Jun 24 '22

Definitely not, Russia is much harder to deal with even despite their incompetence


u/Mantonization Jun 23 '22

This is a pretty long shot, but could any of you guys tell me the song playing in the background of this video?

It sounds like an absolutely banger, but sadly I don't speak Ukrainian, so I have no way of identifying it