Ukrainian culture

Culture as a characteristic feature of a group of people, determined by many aspects. Features of Ukrainian culture. Influence of the era of Ukrainian Cossacks. The tradition of Easter eggs, making pysanka. Traditional Ukrainian dances and games.

Рубрика Культура и искусство
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Язык английский
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Ukrainian culture

Culture is a characteristic feature and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by a lot of aspects, such as language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts, etc. Culture makes countries unique. The peculiarities of Ukrainian culture are determined by its geographical position, its historical path, as well as its interaction with other ethnic cultures. The best way to understand Ukrainian culture is to review early Ukrainian history.

Ukraine is situated in the south-east of Europe. The geographical position of Ukraine is very favorable, as the country lies on the crossroads of the ways from Asia to Europe. Scientists say that culture originated in Ukraine in the early stages of development of society and since that time has been linked with its history. Tribes of Tripoli culture left a deep mark in the history of Ukrainian culture. They had quite a high level of production culture and social organization.

Ukrainian history was influenced by southern civilizations, such as Scythians and Greeks. Invasions by the Khans and the Khazars between the 3rd and 9th centuries mixed Ukrainian bloodlines with those from all over Asia. During the 10th century, Kievan Rus was established and the golden age of Ukrainian princes began. During this period, many important events took place, notably Prince Volodymyr the Great introduced Christianity to the Ukrainian State. The introduction of Christianity attached Ukrainians to cultural and ethical values of this religion. By the mid-14th century, Ukrainian territories were under the rule of three external powers--the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Kingdom of Poland. The development of Ukrainian culture in the Polish-Lithuanian period was marked by the national liberation struggle and movement for the revival of Ukrainian culture. During this movement the ideological prerequisites for people's liberation war were not only formed, but also created cultural values that were the basis of Ukrainian culture in the next century. This was known as the Age of the Kozaks, Ukrainian horsemen that formed one of the largest armies of the time to fight against the invading armies of more powerful nations. These Kozaks were active in their fight for independence as well as against the Russian occupation, before eventually coming under the control of Russia in the late 18th century. In 1918 Ukraine declared its independence, only to be reclaimed in 1922 by Communists during the Bolshevik Revolution. Ravaged by war and Nazi occupation during WWII, Ukraine remained under the Soviet rule until declaring its freedom in 1991. Ukraine suffered a lot on its way to independence.

Ukrainian culture for long periods of its history evolved as a national one. Folklore and folk traditions played an important role and added special charm and color. This was especially true in art - folk ballads, songs, dances, arts and crafts. We should say a few words about one of the most important components of Ukrainian culture - the language of our people. The Ukrainian language serves as an extremely important means of saving national and cultural values. Literature is arguably the most prominent expression of Ukrainian culture. Ukrainian literature has been developing since the early 11th century, when people of the early Kievan Rus drafted some of Ukraine's first works in early Church Slavonic, such as the Hypathian Chronicles. The first historical epic of Ukraine, “Slovo o polky Ihorevim”, was written during this period. The 16th century brought such innovations as the printing press that allowed the church to spread information during the period of Polish occupation. Talking about the humanistic nature of Ukrainian culture, it should be noted that the system of values of the culture during its active development was quite specific, given the artistic heritage of Hryhorii Skovoroda, Feofan Prokopovych, Panteleimon Kulish, Taras Shevchenko. In their philosophical works, they contemplate the nature and conditions of human happiness, the meaning of human existence. Ukraineexperienced the Baroque period in the 17th and 18th centuries, with the rest of Europe. The best known poet of the 18th century was Hryhorii Skovoroda, often referred to as the “Ukrainian Socrates”. The Ukrainian dialect was greatly strengthened during, and after, the 18th century when Ukrainian began to overcome Russian as the language of literary choice. The 19th century brought about the Golden Age of Ukrainian literature with authors such as Ivan Kotliarevskyi (Eneida) and Hryhorii Kvitka Osnovianenko. The romanticism was centered in Kharkiv during the 1830s .Taras Shevchenko, the greatest recognized poet of Ukrainian history, was the first to write of the Russian oppression of the Ukrainian serfs in poems such as “Haidamaky”, which eventually became a national treasure. Authors such as Marko Vovchok and Ivan Nechui-Levytsky supported Ukrainian realism. Their works took a more somber role of looking at the aspects of their country around them, from the suffering of the serfdom to the Ukrainian intelligensia. Lesya Ukrainka who worked in prose, best defined Modernism of the 19th and 20th centuries. Authors such as Pavlo Tychyna and Mykola Bazhan produced the greatest works of their time during this period known as the `realism'.

Ukrainian art is also represented by two very notable forms. They are the bandura in music and the pysanka, or Ukrainian Easter egg, in visual arts. The bandura is an old instrument from the old days of the kozak armies. Bandurysty, as they were called, would roam from the different villages singing songs about the kozak battles, and sharing the rich history of the country at a time when travel was long and dangerous. Even today many historical songs such as the dumy and the playing of the kobza - which was popular during the 16th century - are still enjoyed.

Many people do not know that the tradition of the Easter egg had its beginnings in Ukraine. The pysanka is a decorated egg that descended from pagan times as an offering of good will and a religious gift between family and friends. The people were very superstitious, and the pysanka played an active role in a person's life, as a blessing for good crops or as an icon of protection over a family's home. The pysanky are an art form that is unique to Ukraine because of their heritage, applications, and meanings in Ukrainian life. The most interesting aspect of pysanky is perhaps the method in which they are created. The method, known as a `dye transfer', involves applying thin layers of wax in intricate patterns by hand and dipping the egg in a different color varnish between each layer of wax. The wax is laid down between layers of varnish to protect the colors in between. The wax on the finished egg is carefully removed showing upwards of a dozen or more layers of color that to this day remain as one of the most difficult art forms for an artist to master. Even the designs have meaning and the eggs are usually given as gifts or used as decorations.

The best way to know a nation, its character and history is to get acquainted with its customs and traditions. It is one of the ways for people to know the country better and understand the unique Ukrainian character. Most of the Ukrainian customs and traditions are very old and may tell a lot about the history of Ukraine. The customs and traditions of Ukraine could be divided into several groups. The first group includes family customs, which are connected with birth and marriage rites. Among them there are, for example, celebrations of birth. The second group consists of communal customs, which mark important events in the life of the community. Among them there are spring songs "vesnianky", Kupalo festival and others.

The Ukrainian people also enjoy their culture in the form of traditional dances and dance games. Many of these originated in rural kozak villages and some of the oldest dances can be traced back to ancient cults. Traditionally many of these dances were performed only by males or females, but today both sexes sometimes mix and enjoy the dance together. These dances are kept alive thanks to Ukrainian dance troupes.

Ukrainians celebrate a number of holidays, namely Christmas, Easter, New Year and Ivana Kupala (St John's Eve). They also hold a festival every autumn to celebrate the end of the harvest. While some of these festivals are celebrated worldwide, Ukrainians have their very own way of observing them. Ukrainian culture is very interesting and there is so much to say on the matter that it cannot be discussed fully here.

Ukrainian people lived a rich and raging history. They had to live at a crossroads where many different nations and tribes passed. In these difficult conditions Ukrainians had to defend their land from enemies. This struggle brought up the most characteristic feature of Ukrainians, freedom. That's why all art forms are penetrated by the idea of freedom. This tight struggle for freedom is reproduced in songs, dumas, legends, in painting, embroidery, pottery, etc. Ukrainian culture is rich and varied and we must keep our best traditions and cultural values.

culture ukrainian cossack

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