Weddings in the time of war: Ukrainians refuse to let conflict get in the way of love
- Ukraine capital Kyiv has seen 9,120 weddings in the last five months
- During the same period in 2021, a total of 1,110 weddings took place
- Historically, wartime sees a surge in people marrying
In Ukraine, a quaint east European nation pushed to the centre-stage of global geopolitics, young men and women are in a rush to be married. At a time when nights see entire neighbourhoods turn to rubble, civilians dying in war, millions of people fleeing, those still in Ukraine have resolved that they will not let the war get in the way of life. Ukraine capital Kyiv has seen 9,120 weddings in the five months since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the country. In the same period in 2021, Kyiv saw 1,110 weddings, according to an AFP report.
“I could leave for the front at any moment,” said 25-year-old Vitaliy who married 22-year-old Anastasiya. For Vitaliy, getting married amid the war is the bravest thing one can do because, “you never know what will happen next.” Vitaliy and Anastasia were planning to marry each other for nearly three years. “The war goes on. It’s better to do it now,” Vitaliy told AFP.
Historically, wartime always sees a surge in young lover’s making marital commitments. At the peak of the Second World War, in 1942, 1.8 million weddings were registered in the United States in a period of 12 months, an over 80% increase from a decade earlier.
Weddings in Ukraine are taking place amid escalating Russian aggression. In the town of Vinnytsia, Daria Steinikova, a 32-year-old yoga teacher had been planning her wedding to 30-year-old Vitali Zavalniuk for weeks. But just a day before the wedding, Moscow sent a cruise missile that devastated the city. Twenty-six people died in the attack.
“We were shocked but determined to go through with it. It was out of question to give up. My house was ruined, but not our life,” said Steinikova, speaking to AFP.
Daria and Vitali have put off their wedding party for now because no one in the city is really in the mood for one. After the wedding, however, the couple did a photoshoot in Steniukova’s bombed flat. “It was a defiant message to the whole world – stressing how strong Ukrainians are. We are ready to get married even with rockets flying over our heads.”