Kyiv Today

And to make your evening even better, this is Kyiv earlier today:

It’s the National Day of Vyshyvanka (traditional embroidery), and people always take it very seriously.


8 thoughts on “Kyiv Today

  1. National embroidery day??

    Where has this holiday been all my life, and why didn’t I know about it?!

    (in my youth I was a fanatical embroiderer. My dad was also a pretty fair hand at it once)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every region has its own motif, and you can see people’s entire family history in their vyshyvankas (embroideries). It’s an ancient tradition, but people are still crazy about it.

      Of course, the embroideries were banned in the USSR, and people kept them hidden. It’s so weird even to explain that something like this could be banned.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ” Vyshyvanka … people always take it very seriously”

    How did urbanization happen in Ukraine? (I know it’s a hard question due to terrible history and shifting borders).
    In Poland it was mostly very abrupt and rather than the usual process of gradual migration from village to small town to bigger town to city, people went straight from tiny villages into big cities which is a big… change.
    One result was that while peasant like atttudes about lots of things remained people consciously attempted to distance themselves from their countryside origins and the idea of any type of living folklore tradition in cities was… not gonna happen.
    Things like vyshyvanka would be reserved for a very few contexts like shops aimed at tourists (there was a whole chain of them in communist times, with nice things that had no real connection to anyone).
    Other than that there was/is some living traditions in some border-type areas as in the west in the ‘regained’ lands that were Germany before WWII) or the southern mountains where people wearing folk costumes or speaking funny dialect are part of the domestic tourist experience).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly how it was. My grandparents lived in a small village, had 6 kids, spoke only Ukrainian, wore vyshyvankas, observed all the folk traditions (some really cute). Their children, though, moved to the cities, switched to Russian, never wore vyshyvankas, and has very few kids. And referred to themselves as Russian.

      That’s the Ukraine I left.

      But then a huge national awakening happened, sometime around 2003-2006. Gen-X and Millennials recovered the language, the music, the clothing, the traditions. Soon enough “vyshyvankas are for grandmas” turned into “my grandma’s vyshyvankas is so much cooler than your grandma’s.”

      In Russia they saw this and wanted to imitate it. But they went about it the typical Russian way. The Russian Orthodox Church suggested mandating by law that women wear “traditional Russian clothing”. A huge debate ensued, and obviously this wasn’t done. But the idea of national clothing was poisoned for good. Young kids weren’t going to embrace sad, funereal dresses the color of vomit because old guys with beards recommended them.


    1. The Patriot air defense systems have been amazing. They have been intercepting Russian Kinzhals every night.

      It’s also great news because if Russia decides to use tactical nukes, they are going to use Kinzhals to launch them. And now we know that Kinzhals are powerless against the Patriots.

      People kept saying that it would take Ukrainians forever to learn to operate the Patriots. But I guess when a Kinzhal is aimed at your native city, the learning curve becomes much shorter.


      1. Yeah, it’s a bit of a joke at this point that training time is an issue. Same has been said about F-16s, HIMARS, tanks, etc. and it has all been very wrong. Some supposedly smart people can’t seem to understand than when defending your homeland is on the line, people can learn very quickly and standard training times goes out the window.

        Liked by 1 person

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