Christmas Spider

Christmas Spider: Ukrainian Legend

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In some cultures, Christmas is closely tied to things that are spooky. Ukraine is no different, with its tradition of a Christmas spider. Even today it is considered good luck to find a spider in your tree. If you want to enhance your luck, you can get a spider ornament that will bring you a good fortune.

Update: since posting this I have been corrected and told that this is actually German. Despite all the sources that refer to this as Ukrainian, it isn’t. It is a Ukrainian superstition that spiders are lucky. However, Christmas trees are new to Ukraine so this legend couldn’t have been from there.

The legend:

There once was a widow, who lived in a small hut. One day a pine cone dropped on the floor and it took root. Her children were excited that they would have a tree for Christmas. All summer long they made plans on how they would decorate the tree. They were very poor, so poor that they did not have anything to decorate the tree with. The widow went to bed on Christmas Eve knowing that the tree would not be decorated.

Early on Christmas morning, the woman was awakened by her children. “Mother, mother wake up and see the tree it is beautiful!” The mother arose and saw that during the night a spider had spun a web around the tree. The youngest child opened the window to the first light of Christmas Day. As the shafts of the sun crept along the floor, it touched one of the threads of the spider web. Instantly the web was changed into gold and silver. And from that day forward the widow never wanted for anything.

Spider Wisdom

Origins:

This legend is originally from Ukraine. However, it is told around Eastern Europe and the surrounding countries. There is a variation of the story where the Christmas spider magically turns its webs into silver or gold. Similarly, other variations link the spider to Baby Jesus, who brings presents instead of Santa in countries such as the Czech Republic.

This year I hope to celebrate Christmas to its fullest. Which means taking bits and pieces from these stories that I have been telling you. It’s going to be a magical smorgasbord of traditions from all over the world. Therefore, I’ll definitely be putting my spiderweb next to my pickle. Wow, that almost sounds like a “that’s what she said” joke.

The featured photo is taken from Country Living. You can find a list of Christmas spider ornaments on their website.

Christmas Spider
Christmas Spider Ornament – Country Living
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3 comments

  1. This is not a Ukrainian legend, but a German one.

    There is no historical Ukrainian tradition of Xmas trees; “New Year’s Trees” became a custom in the Soviet era, and remain so to this day.

    And Ukrainians do not decorate trees with spiders and webs. They use glass ornaments and lights, like anyone else. In western Ukraine, though, they do make and hang “pavuky” (aka spiders), which are straw mobiles, at the holidays.

    1. I know all about New Year trees as I am Ukrainian and grew up in a non religious household. I did a lot of research that claims that this is a Ukrainian tradition. A lot of these traditions are shared among European countries. Perhaps you are right though. Still an interesting concept no matter where it came from 🙂

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