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02 Mai. 2023

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Flag, trident and embroidery: top myths about Ukrainian symbols

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Flag, trident and embroidery: top myths about Ukrainian symbols

Many Ukrainians and foreigners have their own established ideas about Ukrainian national symbols. Over time, many of them have become real myths. Let's debunk the most common myths about the trident, embroidery and flag

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National symbols are a real asset and treasure of Ukrainians. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the state symbols are the Flag, Anthem and Coat of Arms. However, the history of Ukraine is interesting and multifaceted, over several centuries, Ukrainians have developed many national symbols, some of which have become true myths.

We debunk the most common myths about national symbols.


Top myths about Ukrainian embroidery


Vyshyvanka is a national symbol and a talisman - it is a symbol of health, beauty, happy fate, ancestral memory, decency, honesty, love, celebration. Now, every Ukrainian knows a lot of information about the traditional Ukrainian shirt - vyshyvanka. However, unfortunately, quite often some ideas are wrong.

• Myth 1 - The red and black rose is an ancient traditional Ukrainian embroidery. In fact, all ancient ornaments embroidered on shirts were exclusively geometric. Plant ornaments: flowers, grapes, carnations, lilies, peonies, images of birds, animals and mythical creatures appeared on embroidery only in the middle of the 19th century. Ukrainian women were captivated by the novelty of the ornament, the richness of color, the decorativeness, and the simplicity of the embroidery, which is why red and black roses began to appear more and more often on embroidery.

• Myth 2 - The amulet on the shirt is a separate symbol - a flower, star or rhombus. In fact, the embroidery itself is a talisman with a deep spiritual meaning. The process of creating a shirt begins at the stage of spinning and weaving the fabric. The energy of human hands is the strongest amulet for the owner of the shirt.

The national symbolism of embroidery is preserved in simple geometric symbols that are passed down from generation to generation. Instead, the images, which are the product of individual artistic creativity, have an exclusively aesthetic function.

• Myth 3 - They embroidered in white because of poverty, when there were no colored threads. In fact, white embroidery is a universal symbol of purity, harmony and order, which is why it is the most common in Ukraine. Usually, it is the samples of white-on-white embroidery that are the oldest and are kept in museum collections.

• Myth 4 - Black embroidery is a sign of mourning. In fact, the tradition of black embroidery was determined by the natural conditions in which Ukrainians lived. This decoration is most common in Borschiv and other Podilsk regions. Black is the natural color of the sheep traditionally bred here. That is why the black color of the thread is not about grief, but about the material with which the embroiderers had the opportunity to work.

• Myth 5 - A "real" Ukrainian shirt is one that is embroidered with flowers, and the more, the better. In fact, the main thing in a Ukrainian shirt is discreet beauty and refined style. The sophistication and simplicity of the folk ornament in modern embroidery is inferior to the whimsy and boldness of the new style.


The myth of the Tryzub


The trident is a symbol of Neptune and cannot be used by Ukraine. In fact, the State Coat of Arms of Ukraine depicts the sign of the Kyivan State of the times of Volodymyr the Great (or, in other words, the tryzub). It was approved as the coat of arms of Ukraine in 1918.


Myths about the Flag of Ukraine


• Myth 1 – Mazepa received the blue and yellow flags from the Swedes. The approval of the blue-yellow color combination as the Ukrainian national colors in the modern sense can be clearly dated to 1848, it is connected with the Ukrainian national revival in Galicia and Bukovina. Documentarily, this issue was raised at a meeting of the Main Council in Lviv in 1848, appealing to historical information that in the time of King Danylo, the coat of arms was a golden lion on a blue field. So the national colors of blue and yellow were solidified.


However, most of the myths about the Ukrainian State Flag are related to the fact that the national flag must be turned upside down.


• Myth 2 – The order of colors on the Ukrainian flag does not correspond to heraldic standards. Proponents of the yellow-blue version of the Ukrainian flag claim that during the approval of the Ukrainian flag, they violated the rules of heraldry and reversed the colors. In fact, there are no single rules for creating flags.


• Myth 3 - The blue-yellow flag does not correspond to feng shui, because it represents decline, and in its inverted form - yellow-blue means prosperity. Chinese beliefs have nothing to do with Ukrainian traditions. Also, no country uses feng shui when creating flags. Even the flag of China was created not according to feng shui, but on an ideological communist basis.


• Myth 4 – An upside down flag is an international symbol of bad luck. Among all the countries of the world, only one has the use of an inverted flag stipulated by its legislation. This is the Philippines. In this country, during the war, the flag is used with inverted stripes. There are no longer any international flag regulations about overturned flags.

Therefore, there are no grounds for turning the Ukrainian flag from blue-yellow and yellow-blue.


Ukrainians are proud of their national symbols, explore the history of their state and discover Ukraine again and again.




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