Chernivtsi University, Cernauti Residentia, Ukraine (Сергій-Криниця). ( photo : Haidamac ).
Ukrainian culture and customs of Ukraine and ethnic Ukrainians. Ukraine has a shared culture and history with neighboring nations, dating back to the 9th century and the Land of Rus. Mutual customs are shared among the cultures of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Ukrainian Cossacks and Turkic peoples of Central Asia. Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by the Eastern Orthodox Church and traditions from Slavic mythology. The Soviet era unified the cultures of many unrelated nations with a common language.
Holidays and celebrations
Social gatherings like Vechornytsi have a long history in Ukrainian culture, and so do traditional holidays like Ivan Kupala Day, Maslenitsa, Koledovanie, and Malanka, where people gather in large groups. “Razom nas bahato, nas ne podolaty” is a popular cultural and political statement of both traditional and modern Ukrainians. It translates as “Together we are many! We cannot be defeated!”
Chernivtsi University, Ukraine.
Ukrainian borscht with smetana, ( photo : Boxborough MA ).
Food is an important part to the Ukrainian culture. Special foods are used at Easter, as well as Christmas. During Christmas, for example, people prepare kutia, which is a mixture of cooked wheat groats, poppy seeds, honey, and special sweet breads.
An average Ukrainian diet consists of fish, cheese, and a variety of sausages. Head cheese is also quite popular in Ukraine, as well as Kolbasa (Ukrainian: Ковбаса́, Kovbasa), a type of sausage. Typically bread is a core part of every meal, and must be included for the meal to be “complete.” During Christmas, for example, it is the tradition to have a twelve-course meal. Included at Easter are the famous pysanky, which are colored and patterned eggs. Making these eggs is a long process, and they are used for display at the center of the table rather than consumed.
Ukrainians often toast to good health, linger over their meal, and engage in lively conversation with family and friends. Often they will drink tea (chai), wine, or coffee afterwards with a simple dessert, such as a fruit pastry. Popular foods include salo, borscht, chicken kiev, pierogi,and pilaf.
Ukrainian architecture reflects distinct features of that particular location and time period. Design and architecture are influenced by the existing political and economic climate.
Different regions in Ukraine have their own distinctive style of vernacular architecture, based on local traditions and the knowledge handed down through generations. The Museum of Folk Architecture and Way of Life of Central Naddnipryanshchyna is located in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi. The open-air museum contains 13 theme museums, 122 examples of national architecture, and over 30,000 historical cultural objects. The Museum of Decorative Finishes is one of the featured museums that preserves the handiwork of decorative architectural applications in Ukrainian architecture. Decorative finishes use ancient traditional design patterns.
Ornamental and visual art
Vyshyvanka dress. Ornamental art often has a hidden meaning in ancient symbolism (photo : Mikhail-Bryansky ).
For men, traditional dress includes Kozhukh, Kontusz, Żupan and Sharovary. For women, traditional dress includes Vyshyvanka, Kozhushanka, Ochipok for married women, and Ukrainian wreath for unmarried girls. Garments are made using elaborate structural design, complicated weaving techniques, extensive embroidery, and cutwork needlework.
Weaving and embroidery
Artisan textile arts play an important role in Ukrainian culture, especially in Ukrainian wedding traditions. Ukrainian embroidery, weaving, and lace-making are used in traditional folk dress and in traditional celebrations. Ukrainian embroidery varies depending on the region of origin, and the designs have a long history of motifs, compositions, choice of colors, and types of stitches. Use of color is very important and has roots in Ukrainian folklore. Embroidery motifs found in different parts of Ukraine are preserved in the Rushnyk Museum in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi.
National dress is woven and highly decorated. Weaving with handmade looms is still practiced in the village of Krupove, situated in Rivne Oblast. The village is the birthplace of two famous personalities in the scene of national crafts fabrication. Nina Myhailivna and Uliana Petrivna with international recognition. In order to preserve this traditional knowledge, the village is planning to open a local weaving center, museum, and weaving school.
The Hopak is often popularly referred to as the “National Dance of Ukraine”. ( photo by Spc. Joshua Leonard).
Traditional dances are popular within Ukraine, many of which derive from rural Cossack villages. One Ukrainian style of dancing is called the kalyna. Both men and women participate in this type of dancing.
- The women wear colourful costumes, sometimes featuring a solid-coloured (usually blue, green, red, or black) tunic and matching apron, and under that an open skirt, and below that a white skirt with an embroidered hem that should reach an inch or so below the knee. If they wear a tunic, then under that they wear a long-sleeved richly embroidered white shirt. Traditionally, women wear a type of red leather boots to dance in. They also wear a flower head piece (vinok), that is a headband covered with flowers and has long flowing ribbons down the back that flow when they dance, and plain red coral necklaces.
- The men wear baggy trousers (usually blue, white, black or red) and a shirt (usually white, but sometimes black) embroidered at the neck and down the stomach. Over the shirt they sometimes will wear a richly embroidered vest. Around their waist they wear a thick sash with fringed ends. Like the women, they wear boots, but these can be black or white in addition to red.
- Kalyna dancing involves partner dancing. One dance, called the pryvitannia, is a greeting dance. It is slow and respectful, the women bow to the audience and present bread with salt on a cloth and flowers. Another, called the hopak is much more lively, and involves many fast-paced movements. Hence hopak as a dance is derived from hopak martial art of Cossacks.
National Art Museum of Ukraine. Established in 1898 – Міський музей Київ 1911 (photo : Gudshon and Gubchevsky).
Museums and libraries
There are 14 libraries of state significance (Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, National Parliamentary Library of Ukraine, National historical library of Ukraine in Kyiv, Korolenko State Scientific Library in Kharkiv, and others), and 45,000 public libraries all over Ukraine. All these institutions own 700 millions of books.
Beautiful Ukraine city at night.
Ukrainian literature had a difficult development because, due to constant foreign domination over Ukrainian territories, there was often a significant difference between the spoken and written language. At times the use of the Ukrainian language was even partly prohibited to be printed. However, foreign rule by Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Turkey, left behind new words thereby enriching Ukrainian. Despite tsarist and soviet repression, Ukrainian authors were able to produce a rich literary heritage.
City view of Ukraine.