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18 May. 2023

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Vyshyvanka Day: interesting traditions, facts and significance for the Ukrainian people

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Vyshyvanka Day: interesting traditions, facts and significance for the Ukrainian people

The main attribute of the Vyshyvanka Day is an embroidered shirt, which is considered a symbol of identification of the Ukrainian people. We tell you about the history of the holiday, the meaning of embroidery, and when Ukrainians started wearing embroidery for the first time

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Every year on the third Thursday of May in Ukraine, the Day of Vyshyvanka is celebrated - it is a holiday designed to preserve the traditions of Ukrainian national clothing. Vyshyvanka for Ukrainians is a real national shrine that symbolizes beauty, power, happy fate and family memory. Despite its centuries-old history, embroidery is fashionable, beautiful and prestigious. There is no other national clothing that would fit so well into modernity as Ukrainian vyshyvanka.

It is easy to join the celebration of Vyshyvanka Day - just come to work or study in an embroidered shirt.

On Vyshyvanka Day, we talk about its significance for the Ukrainian people, as well as interesting facts and traditions.


History of the Vyshyvanka Day holiday


Vyshyvanka Day is not tied to any national holiday, it arose as a flash mob. The idea of the World Vyshyvanka Day belongs to Lesya Voronyuk, a student of Yuriy Fedkovich Chernivtsi National University. The girl drew attention to the fact that many students occasionally wear an embroidered shirt for couples and suggested that one day all her classmates come to class in embroidered shirts. Only a few dozen students took part in the first event, which took place in 2006. In the following years, the number of participants in the action increased, the event was supported by university lecturers, teachers and students from other cities.

The Ukrainian diaspora popularized the holiday all over the world, now Vyshyvanka Day has acquired international dimensions. On this day, Ukrainian traditional clothes are worn by people in 70 countries of the world.


The meaning of embroidery for the Ukrainian people


For many centuries, the vyshyvanka served as a talisman against all evil for Ukrainians. Ukrainians believe that vyshyvanka is endowed with great power and can work miracles. Scientists claim that the people always encode their "happiness and destiny, life and will" in the national dress, as it is said in ritual folk songs. For many centuries, the vyshyvanka carries spiritual wealth, wisdom and a traditional connection of many generations, which is not interrupted by the ages.




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When did Ukrainians start wearing vyshyvanka?


In 1909, a treasury was unearthed in the village of Martynivka, Cherkasy region. The items found in it date back to the 6th century, among them were two statuettes - men dressed in long, wide shirts with patterned embroidery at chest level, allegedly dancing hopak. According to the legend, these are the images of the ancient Slavs (Roksolans, Yazygs, Aors), who wore embroidered shirts, shaved their heads with herringbones, and wore mustaches.

The oldest sample of embroidery was found in the Mykolaiv region. A piece of purple embroidered with gold is a fragment of Sarmatian women's clothing. It dates back to the first millennium AD.


Each region of Ukraine has its own special embroidery technique


In total, there are about two hundred different embroidery techniques and more than a hundred embroidery stitches in Ukraine. Each region has not only its own embroidery technique, but also a theme of ornamentation, traditional colors and details. Borshchi embroidery is recognized as one of the most original types of embroidery - shirts richly embroidered with black threads. In the amazing beauty of Borshchiv embroidery, fragments of Trypil culture are engraved.

Another popular type is polychrome or multicolored embroidery. Previously, they were worn by the inhabitants of the Carpathians, Transcarpathia, Bukovyna and Hutsul region.

Poltava vyshyvanka is considered one of the most complex – white on white. The inspiration for such embroidery was nature: earlier, women embroidered mainly in winter, when there was no work in the garden.

You can find out the main myths about Ukrainian vyshyvanka by following the link.


Photo: radiosvoboda


Vyshyvanka is a symbol of modern Ukrainian culture


• Ukrainians like to set national records dedicated to embroiderers. Thus, in 2012, on Independence Day, the National Register of Records of Ukraine set a new record in Rivne - the largest number of people in embroidered clothes - 6,570 people.

• In 2011, the sewing enterprise sewed a huge vyshyvanka - 4x10 m. It was used to decorate the central building of the Yuri Fedkovich Chernivtsi National University.

• The most expensive embroidered item was a shirt presented in 2013 at the Sorochyn fair. It weighed 4 kg, and its cost was more than 10,000 hryvnias.

• Ivan Franko was the first Ukrainian who combined the Ukrainian national vyshyvanka with everyday clothes, he wore the vyshyvanka with a jacket. In this way, the writer tried to preserve the embroidery for future generations. Ivan Franko is depicted on the 20-hryvnia banknote in an embroidered jacket and jacket.

• Andriy Shevchenko was the first host who appeared live in Vyshyvanka. In national dress, he opened the "Election Night" telethon on Channel 5. Later, this tradition was supported by other media Ukrainians.

• The Ukrainian national shirt is popular all over the world. She even appeared in the collections of world clothing brands: Dior, Gucci, Valentino and Dolce & Gabanna. The Ukrainian Vyshyvanka conquered the hearts of world celebrities: Madonna, Demi Moore, Dita Von Teese, Claudia Schiffer and May Musk.


We talked more about the role of Ukrainian national clothing in the global fashion industry earlier.


Vyshyvanka is the clothing of free people, since ancient times it was worn by Chumaks, Cossacks, Ukrainian insurgent army soldiers, Ukrainian linguists, writers and dissidents. For many centuries, Ukrainians fought for their freedom and wore vyshyvanka as a symbol of their national identity. This continues to this day: Ukrainian soldiers, defenders and volunteers fight for a free Ukraine every day and believe that the next day of embroidery will be held in a peaceful Ukraine.




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