HUFFINGTON POST

Meet The Bears And Goblins Singing In Ukraine's Wackiest Festival

The Ukrainian festival of Malanka is as wacky as they come.

One night every year, Ukrainian villagers dress up as bears, goblins and other characters, and parade in the streets singing traditional songs. According to Spiegel Online, revelers go from house to house playing pranks and telling stories.

The festival is held on Jan. 14, New Year's Eve in the Orthodox Christian calendar, and officially marks the feast day of St. Melanie. But the festivities encompass many local traditions, including the character of Malanka, a fertility goddess from ancient Ukrainian folklore.

In the Ukrainian village of Krasnoilsk, Malanka is a highly-anticipated party. "Throughout the year participants look for old clothing and sew costumes, trying to come up with a unique design," the Washington Post explains.

Take a look at photos from this year's Malanka celebrations in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.

  • Villagers celebrating the winter festival of Malanka pose for a portrait in costume on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukrain
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers celebrating the winter festival of Malanka pose for a portrait in costume on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine. The holiday, which involves dressing in elaborate costumes and going from house to house as a group singing traditional songs, is celebrated on New Year's Day of the Orthodox calendar, a week after Orthodox Christmas.
  • Villagers dress up in bear costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukrai
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers dress up in bear costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers wearing hay bale costumes celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers wearing hay bale costumes celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers celebrating the winter festival of Malanka pose for a portrait in costumes on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukrai
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers celebrating the winter festival of Malanka pose for a portrait in costumes on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers dress up in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers dress up in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Children take part in the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Children take part in the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers dress up in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers dress up in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers dressed in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka pose for a portrait on January 14, 2015 in Kra
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers dressed in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka pose for a portrait on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
  • Villagers dress up in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
    Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
    Villagers dress up in costumes as they celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14, 2015 in Krasnoilsk, Ukraine.
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