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Thursday, May 21, 2020
On 21 May 2020, Ukrainians all over the world celebrate the day of the national embroidered shirt, or Vyshyvanka. The event, celebrated on the third Thursday of May, has turned into a global cultural diplomacy opportunity for the numerous Ukrainian communities around the world, and a national statement inside the country. The Vyshyvanka Day emerged as a flash mob not attached to any public holiday.
On this day Ukrainians wear vyshyvankas to demonstrate adherence to the idea of national identity. The day unites Ukrainians regardless of their gender, social status, religious beliefs or political opinions.
Vyshyvanka in history
Archeological discoveries in Ukraine indicate that embroidery has existed there since prehistoric times, it dates back to the Neolithic–Eneolithic Trypillian culture. The elements of ornaments used by Trypillians, Sarmatians, and Scythians are found even in the modern national embroidery.
Among the earliest are the finds dated to the 6th century, found in Cherkassy Oblast, one of the silver plates depicts a man dressed in long, wide patterned shirt with embroidery on the chest. The Ukrainian peasants wore the same clothing just a century ago.
Cloth embroidery was first inspired by faith in the power of protective symbols and later by aesthetic motives.
In a country with a history marked by foreign invasions, embroidery has been “symbolically linked to national identity and unity,” said Dr. Oksana I. Grabowicz, an anthropologist and research associate at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University.
Vyshyvankas have been festal clothes for Ukrainians all over the world for a long time, nevertheless, Vyshyvanka Day emerged as a holiday not long ago.
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