One of Ukraine’s religious holidays is celebrated on August 14 as Honey Spas, also named the First Savior, Honey Savior or the Savior of the Honey Feast. It is also the holiday Maccabeus, or honey-poppy Spas, Makoviya. Spas in Ukraine means ’savior’ and the ‘Spases’ are three folk holidays celebrated in August marking the end of summer.
Honey Spas, in Ukrainian it reads “Medovy Spas” is traditionally the time to collect the late-summer honey. This is the end of summer and you have to start storing products for winter. Our ancestors said that starting from Honey Spas bees no longer bring honey.
Makoviya is one of the most poetic and most respectful Spas feasts in Ukraine. On this day people bless water, flowers and poppies in the churches. Each had a bouquet of flowers, in which there are necessarily large ripe poppy heads. Such a bouquet is called "Makoviychik" or "Makoviyka" and there can also be marigolds, and asters, cloves, and cherry flowers, various grass (which are commonly called to “potions”) such as voloshky, cornflowers, mint, wormwood, yarrow.
People must dip in water to wash their sins away and improve their health. It is forbidden to swim after it as water began to bloom at the end of the summer and it was dangerous to swim.
It is common to eat honey on this day. After the honey has been blessed at the church, you can eat it. People cook porridge with honey, baking pies, cakes and buns with poppy seeds and honey, making honey kvas. Honey was considered to have mystical and healing powers, which were able to overcome many diseases. People said that on Honey Spas even the beggar will taste honey.
Traditionally, it is believed that nature changes after this day: bees stop bringing honey to hives, bee-keepers cut open the hives, roses stop blooming, and cold dew appear on the grass. It signifies the summer end.
During Savior Feasts, it is forbidden to quarrel, have negative emotions and grudges, instead you have to help people.
Besides, on August 14, Uspenskiy fasting (Dormition Fast) begins and it lasts until August 28. It is a strict fast; on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays people practice eating of dry food; on Tuesdays and Thursdays it is possible to eat the warm meal but without oil; on Saturdays and Sundays people may eat a warm meal with vegetable oil and drink wine. People may eat fish only on the Transfiguration of Jesus and the Dormition of the Mother of God.