Yesterday, May 17, hundreds of Kharkivites marched along the main streets wearing national embroidered costumes to celebrate the International Day of Vyshyvanka, which is the name of the Ukrainian ethnic clothes.
There were a lot of families with very young children who looked especially touching in national shirts and dresses.
After the joyful march, there was an open-air concert at the ground near the Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Also, many cafes, restaurants, hotels and offices encouraged their staff to put on “vyshyvankas” this day. A lot of people posted their photos in embroidered shirts on social media networks. The students came to their institutions in national clothes and in National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute” they formed a live embroidery show together with a creative flashmob.
Although Vyshyvanka Day is not observed as a state holiday, it has become a beloved tradition in Kharkiv, particularly popular after revolutionary events of 2013-2014. Embroidered shirts and blue and yellow flags have turned into symbols of freedom and the battle for independence of Ukraine against hidden Russian aggression since spring 2014. Each year the number of people wearing national costumes is growing as well as the popularity of spoken Ukrainian.
The tradition to celebrate ethnic Ukrainian costume to preserve the original folk custom, including both making and wearing, is relatively new and has been celebrated all over the world on the third Thursday of May for over 10 years already.
Reference: The World Vyshyvanka Day was started in 2016 by Lesya Voronyuk, a student of Chernivtsi National University. Initially, embroidered clothes were worn by dozens of students and several faculty members. During the following years, the holiday grew into the all-Ukrainian Day and became international while the Ukrainian diaspora together with supporters of Ukraine around the world joined the celebration.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Leonyd Logvynenko, Milena Kovalska