Kolodka. A ritual folk game. On the Monday of the last week before Lent (the so-called Kolodii festival), married women would tie a small log (kolodka) to the legs of young men and women who had not married before Carnival Sunday. Those thus ‘punished’ had to buy their ‘freedom’ through gifts or money. In the Poltava region, logs were also tied to the legs of parents for not having arranged marriages for their unmarried children. In more recent times, the log was replaced by symbolic ribbons, kerchiefs, or bundles of flowers. Because shepherds tied small logs to the feet of their herd animals to prevent them from jumping over fences and straying, certain ethnographers have hypothesized by analogy that the custom was applied to feisty young bachelors during the days of greatest festivity as a moral restraint against promiscuity. Others have argued that the game is a remnant of the ancient punishment of pillorying for non-performance of duties.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]

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