It was meant to be the happiest day of her life. Instead, Yulia Yukhimets’ bells concluded with her actuality rushed to the hospital, weak, anemic and absorbed to an IV – calm with about 60 guests.
“I accept consistently capital all of this, but attending how it ended,” Ms Yukhimets, 20, a abbreviate and shy blonde, said from her hospital in the boondocks of Ruzhyn, area she was taken in an ambulance from a adjacent apple this month.
Every year, hundreds of Ukrainian brace and their guests allegation medical analysis afterwards adversity aliment contagion at bells banquets. They are victims of Ukraine’s band of acceptable big bells hospitality, which calls for alleviative guests to added aliment than they can eat and the hosts can cautiously prepare. Best often, the poisonings booty abode because the home-made aliment at apple weddings is not appropriately air-conditioned while it is able in huge batches over several days.
Many cultures favor big weddings, but a acceptable Ukrainian apple bells is annihilation abbreviate of a angelic ritual, bringing calm the absolute association at food-laden tables for song, ball and celebrations that aftermost several days.
Ethnographer Olena Shcherban says that in folk culture, a bells is advised to be one of the three key challenge in a person’s life, forth with bearing and death, and is an break for the association to accord its official absolution to the new family.
“A bells is not aloof anything, it’s a acme of a accord of associates of a community,” Ms Shcherban said. “This acme allegation booty abode about in advanced of the eyes of the absolute village, of the absolute baby association that knows these bodies and that will legalise this relationship,”
The actual Ukrainian chat for bells – “vesillya” – is acquired from the words “joy” and “rejoice.” And in accepted belief, the bigger the party, the happier the marriage.
So it was declared to be at Ms Yukhimets’ wedding.
After registering their alliance in a civilian ceremony, the bells affair headed for the aboriginal day of celebrations at the bride’s home in Nemyryntsi, a baby apple in axial Ukraine, amidst by blah and sunflower fields. A ample covering went up in Yukhimets’ garden and about 150 guests sat bottomward to acknowledgment the bride, a primary academy teacher, and her groom, Oleksandr, 29, a adaptable phones salesman. In band with tradition, the covering was covered with besom branches and a beach carpeting was abashed abaft the newlyweds’ table, busy with an Orthodox Christian figure and a hand-embroidered towel.
Yulia’s mother, Valentyna Hrabchak, was in allegation of whipping up the once-in-a-lifetime accident – one that bounded custom dictated should aftermost at atomic three canicule with a minimum of 35 dishes, not counting desserts.
She collapsed a civil pig two canicule afore the bells and summoned 20 girlfriends to advice with preparations. Calm they served up a colossal feast, all home-made: meat patties, pate, blimp banknote rolls, meat rolls, sausage, salads, craven wings, 12 annular loaves of bread, absurd steaks, smoked fish, pancakes, and abundant more.
The aliment was adorable and the affair was fun, complete with a lemon-eating contest, acceptable Ukrainian songs and a bells dance. The abutting day, Yulia and Oleksxandr were wed in a abbey and the anniversary confused to the groom’s house. But already by the afternoon, abounding started activity unwell. First, suspicion fell on men bubbler too abundant “horilka,” or Ukrainian vodka. But afterwards the bride, the guests and alike the musicians suffered fever, abdomen aches, airsickness and diarrhea, it became bright that article abroad was to blame.
Yulia was rushed to the Rozhyn Axial District hospital in her pajamas, accepting aloof afflicted out of her bells dress. She and others were accustomed antibiotics and intravenous drips. Some were in such bad appearance that they were agitated on stretchers and rushed into emergency care, amid them a 2-year-old boy. Fourteen of those who fell ill were children.
There were so abounding bells patients that the hospital bound ran out of beds and drugs. Some patients were put on trolleys in the corridors of the hospital’s infections unit; a affluent aborigine donated money and medications to advice adolescent townsfolk. A anniversary afterwards actuality admitted, best patients were activity bigger and some were actuality discharged.
Mykola Zozulya, the hospital’s arch doctor, said that lab tests showed that the infection was acquired by salmonella. He frowns aloft abundant weddings, adage advancing and bistro so abundant aliment is a bloom hazard: “It’s our Ukrainian mentality: We appetite for the table to collapse beneath the weight of the food.”
The Bloom Ministry said it does not accumulate statistics of bells poisonings. But such incidents are frequent, abnormally during hot summer months that are the adopted division for weddings.
Hrabchak, who did not get sick, abhorrent the eggs she bought at a bounded abundance and acclimated in best of the dishes. She said the aliment was all home-made and appropriately stored in refrigerators and a algid cellar.
And best bells participants actuality advised at the hospital dedicated the big “vesillya” as a admirable attitude – adage they artlessly got unlucky.
“These traditions were invented not by us, but by our ancestors,” said Svitlana Yukhimets, the wedding’s acknowledgment maker, “so we try to advance them.”
Ms Hrabchak was about in tears at what happened. She said she abjure that the bells she organised acquired her admired ones so abundant suffering, but still believes that the angelic attitude of big and affable weddings should alive on.
“You should have, and accept and accept weddings and not be abashed that article would happen,” Ms Hrabchak said. “If you are abashed of wolves, don’t go into the woods.”
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