Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, you all have been watching a lot of news about Ukraine. A lot of it is naturally about Russian aggression and the suffering it causes in Ukraine. But besides bombing our cities, Russia is also attacking our churches and museums, they are trying to destroy not only our country and our people, but also our culture. Putin has been trying to rewrite history and destroy our culture for years, and he pushed the narrative that Ukraine was created by Russia. But what he says couldn’t be further from the truth. Kyiv, now the capital of Ukraine, existed before the formation of Russia. Ukrainian culture dates back thousands of years. So today we are going to share with you some things you need to know about Ukrainian culture.
Let’s start with the obvious, the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. Many people abroad are confused about the correct pronunciation of the town’s name. Well, let me clear this up for you once and for all. The name comes from the Russian interpretation of the name Kiev. But Ukraine has been independent for 30 years and has its own language. The correct way to pronounce the capital’s name is Kiev. Also, Kyiv was founded in 482 AD and named after Kiyin, the founder of Kyiv and the Kyi dynasty.
A vyshivanka is an embroidered shirt that is an important part of the Ukrainian national costume. The history of the Ukrainian national costume is closely connected with the traditions of the people of Tripoli and the principalities of Kievan Rus, which were on the territory of Ukraine. Each region of Ukraine has its own unique embroidery elements and style reflected in its vyshyvanka. Ukraine is famous for embroidery all over the world, and embroidery on the territory of Ukraine dates back to the 5th century BC.
This tiktok shows what a real Ukrainian national costume looks like
3. Shchedrik (Carol of the Bells)
Most of the English-speaking world knows the song as Carol of the Bells, after the original Shedrik was performed by the Ukrainian National Chorus at Carnegie Hall in 1092, Peter J. It was adapted as an English carol by Wilhousky. The original Shchedrik is a Ukrainian New Year’s song arranged in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich.
Pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg decorated with a unique intricate design. The word “Physanga” is derived from the word “Physati” which means “to write” or “to engrave”. Pysanky are very colorful and you might think they are painted, but they are actually engraved using a wax-resist method. First, you etch the design you want the egg color to stand on, then you dye the egg in a pan until it turns color, after which you etch the next part of the design. It ends with a light color and a dark color. At the end you place the egg on top of the candle and wipe away the melted wax to reveal the finished pysanka.
Borshch is a Ukrainian soup made with beetroot to give it its famous red color. It is delicious and nutritious and can be made with or without meat. It usually contains meat and is served with sour cream, but there is also a vegetarian version, which is suitable for fasting. It’s important to note that some Russian restaurants have borscht on their menu, and they call it Russian cuisine, but that’s cultural appropriation.
6. Ukrainian Eurovision winners
Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest twice. In 2005, Ukrainian singer Ruslana won Eurovision with her song Wild Dances. In 2016, Jamala brought success to Ukraine with the song 1944, about the deportation of Crimean Tatars for “collaborating with the Nazis” on the orders of Joseph Stalin. The song rang especially true in light of current events at the time, since Russia annexed Crimea and annexed it from Ukraine, renewing its repression of the Crimean Tatars, who, understandably, refused to accept the annexation.