Ukrainian tradition and culture is closely tied to the land and to nature. Drawing from Ukrainian regional traditions, Cycles of the Sun weaves a thread through the rich tapestry of seasonal celebrations of nature and community. A young girl frolics with the animated elements of winter on her way home for Christmas dinner. Her family welcomes carollers heralding Christmas Eve, and New Year’s celebrations soon follow with some of the villagers masquerading as animals and fortune telling gypsies. Villagers choose a young man to represent “Malanka”, the mythological maiden who symbolizes the start of a new seasonal cycle.
As we enter Spring, newly budding willows are blessed and given to members of the community. Couples returning home from church on Easter stop to play a traditional game in which they try to crack one another’s egg with the winner destined to have good fortune throughout the year.
During the summer the young men of the village prepare a puppet known as “Marena”, symbolizing both the growth and destruction of nature. Meanwhile the young women weave wreaths which they toss into the stream. Water spirits, known as “Rusalky”, buoy the wreaths as the young women dream of their future loves.
Wheatfields turn to gold as Harvest celebrations begin. The young men swath the fields and the women collect the wheat. Cycles of the Sun culminates with a new beginning as a newlywed couple offer bread and salt to welcome you after joining them in this celebration of old world tradition and new paths in Ukrainian dance.