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The Magic of Varenyky


Despite the global love and popularity, not many people know that dumplings are not only delicious everyday food, but also a magical dish. Sacrificial food, in which many secret meanings are hidden. So, in many regions of Ukraine, dumplings are used to tell fortune.


Everyone knows and loves varenyky, and for sure many have signature recipes passed down from generation to generation. Varenyky are prepared for a festive table and for a commemoration. Served hot and cold. Cooked in a saucepan and frypan. Served with lean filling and richly flavoured with lard or fat sour cream. And how can you get by with varenyky with cabbage melting in your mouth for Christmas?

Despite the global love and popularity, not many people know that dumplings are not only delicious everyday food, but also a magical dish. Sacrificial food, in which many secret meanings are hidden.

For example, when cooking, young girls wrapped a piece of paper with a man’s name written on it along with the filling. The first dumpling, which emerged during cooking, was cut – and learned the name of his fiancé!

Or it happened that a girl put her varenyky in front of a cat or a dog, which were a kind of oracles of fate. The animal, choosing a certain varenyky with a piece of paper inside, pointed to the groom. But if the cat bites someone’s varenyk and leaves it, it meant that the betrothed would do this with the girl in life. If the cat carried the varenyk far from the table, it meant that the matchmakers would come from afar and the wedding would be far from the father’s house.

Lyudmila Khityaeva as the witch Solokha from the movie “The Night Before Christmas”. Screen adaptation of the story by Nikolai Gogol

Ukrainian dumplings are a very powerful magical dish that can help a person in many ways. To begin with, the process of making dumplings can be associated with different phases of the moon. A round dough piece is a full moon, and a ready-made dumpling is a young month. It is believed that there must be twenty-nine dumplings on a plate, according to the number of days in the lunar month.

Just a woman should cook dumplings! In its finished form, the dumpling resembles a pregnant woman, so such work in the kitchen can help a woman significantly enhance her feminine energy, correct a failed woman’s share.

And if a woman has problems with reproductive function, then the process of sculpting dumplings will help her get rid of this problem. To do this, during the preparation of this dish, she needs to imagine that every stuck dumpling is she’s pregnant.

The filling, which is used to make dumplings, is also of great importance. Almost any product can be used. Cottage cheese, meat, potatoes, spinach, potatoes with feta cheese and fried onions, potatoes with mushrooms, just mushrooms, cabbage (fresh or pickled), tomatoes with cheese, cherries, strawberries, apricots, blackcurrants, blueberries. But do not forget that each filling has its own symbolism.

“The Night Before Christmas”, 1961. Screen adaptation of the story by Nikolai Gogol
  • millet porridge is a symbol of the future life
  • poppy – masculine strength, as well as love and harmony
  • cheese – protection from evil and negativity
  • potatoes – to improve health
  • an egg – to add life-giving forces
  • mushrooms – to enhance male potency
  • fish – to improve female energy

So, for example, it is customary to appease evil spirits with dumplings with cottage cheese, so that they do not harm, and to pamper good spirits, so that they do not forget and do not leave in difficult times. For this, several dumplings were left on the table overnight on a saucer so that the spirits could feast at night. In the morning, these dumplings are given to animals. If you have health problems, then dumplings with potatoes will come to your aid. Eat an odd number of these magic dumplings, thinking about what you want to get rid of, and you will see how much easier it becomes for you. The main thing is not to overeat.

Witch Solokha and the Demon.”The Night Before Christmas”, 1961.

But dumplings with poppy seeds are a special magical dish. Poppy is a symbol of the masculine principle, and a ready-made dumpling is a symbol of the feminine principle. This is a kind of Yin and Yang, only in the Ukrainian manner. Such dumplings are a good harmoniser of family relationships. If a husband and wife eat such a dish, they will forever forget what quarrels and scandals are, and happiness and love will forever settle in their house!

Dumplings on the second day of the wedding – for the imminent appearance of the first child.

Dumplings for a woman in labour – will provide strong offspring and fertility in the future.

If the quantities of filling and dough for Christmas dumplings match perfectly, there will be trouble (it is better to make more filling or dough in advance).

Lyudmila Khityaeva as the witch Solokha from the movie “The Night Before Christmas”, 1961

Well, at the end of our story about dumplings, one cannot ignore the theme of “dumplings” motives by Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol. Probably everyone remembers the witch Solokha from Gogol’s “Night before Christmas”, who bewitched all the men in her native village Dikanka. And it was not only about female cunning and magic. The ability to cook delicious dumplings played a decisive role!

After all, the right Ukrainian dumplings will be able to relieve both depression and sorrow!

Bon Appétit!