Friday (п’ятниця; piatnytsia). The fifth (p'iat') day of the week. In the Christian world it is marked by fasting and prayers in commemoration of Good Friday, when Jesus Christ died. Under the influence of pre-Christian beliefs and sometimes the cult of Saint Parasceve, Friday assumed the mythological figure of Saint Friday (P'iatinka-Matinka)—a woman with straight hair who is dressed in white and warns women not to work on Friday, rewarding those who heed her and punishing the disobedient. A woman dressed as Saint Friday used to be led through the streets, offered gifts, and honored with ceremonial meals, particularly on Good Friday and on the eve of Saint Parasceve's day on October 28. The apocryphal ‘Slovo pro 12 piatnyts'’ (The Tale of the 12 Fridays) describes the great events that occurred on Fridays and the 12 Fridays that must be celebrated, particularly the 10th Friday (Desiatukha). In folk legends and folk songs Friday is sometimes worshipped as the Mother of God or the Virgin Mary, who bestows her blessings on people.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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