Culture News Society, 10/11/2018

Kharkiv Vertep Fest Unites Ukrainians

For the third time, Kharkiv will welcome a stunning traditional Vertep Fest on January 12-13.

The street festival is organized by the Kharkiv with You Charity. In addition to the main festival’s slogan ”For the light that overcame darkness!” the organizers added another one ”Perform vertep together with your friends!”

The exciting two-day event brings together about 1,000 diverse participants. Ethnic groups from all over Ukraine are coming to Kharkiv to perform on squares, streets, in shopping malls, city parks and gardens and even underground.  Moreover, vertep groups will act in children’s and military hospitals.

Also, a tradition of simultaneous singing of the most famous Christmas Carol “Nova radist stala” (New Joy Came) is going to be continued during the festival. It was implemented for the first time at the Fest, as 660 people in Kharkiv, Lviv and Kramatorsk joined the flash mob singing the Carol together on 14 January 2017. After the event, Ethno-parties will be held for all festival participants and ethnic diasporas of Kharkiv.

“Such a festival is a great opportunity for the participants to meet with like-minded people and to exchange their experience,” notes the festival coordinator, Kharkiv with You director Olena Rofe-Beketova. “As for the viewers, the event is a great occasion to have a good time with their families and friends or just to embrace unforgettable impressions of magic Christmas atmosphere.”

During the previous events, representatives of almost 20 Ukrainian regions took part in the festival. This year, about 20 folk groups from eastern and western regions of the country have already applied to take part in the event. Notably, Vertep Amateurs group from Lisichansk, the Luhansk region, is coming to the festival for the second time. Over five years, the enthusiasts introduce their compatriots with traditional Slobozhansky Christmas Vertep. Bethlehem Star, another group from western Ukraine, the Ivano-Frankivsk region, which consists of 60 participants, is going to join the event for the third time.

According to festival organizers, the revival of the vertep traditions in Kharkiv is not only interesting but also necessary for the city residences.

“The festival brings people from all Ukrainian regions together, showing they are very similar. And when groups from Ivano-Frankivsk and a small town in the east of the country come to Kharkiv, and they see they have similar costumes, songs and traditions – it all unites. One of the roots of fear is ignorance. It is worth simply seeing and making sure that we are all one big family,” states the event organizer Iryna Markevych.

Text: Natalia Ivanova

Photo: Vertep-Fest-2018