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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Kyiv Traditions

Ukrainian Easter Traditions Bringing it All Back Home

Easter has traditionally been the most important holiday on the Orthodox calendar, the cultures celebration of the coming of spring as well as of the resurrection of Christ. We took a look at what makes Easter what it is in Ukraine.
The trees have blossomed, the weathers getting warmer, and Easter preparations are in full effect. In Ukraine Easter is considered one of the most important religious holidays and its one of the favourite ones, too.  Lots of people still wake up exceedingly early on Easter morning and head for church, where a priest in gorgeous robes consecrates paskhas (cake-like Easter breads) and pisanky (Ukraines famous painted Easter eggs).

 Other foods, such as cheese, butter, wine, salt, salo, horse radish, eggs, ham, sausages, and various seeds are also brought to church, arranged into the basket around the centrepiece paskha, which is typically decorated with colourful glazes. Immediately after the ceremony people hurry home to share the blessed paskha, sometimes knocking it back with a tumbler of sweet wine, and thus beginning the Easter breakfast. The paskha and pisanky are the first associations that come to mind when we think about the attributes of Easter in this country. Locally, theyre like the Christmas tree in much of the West: something that you cant do the holiday without. During the Easter season, all the local supermarkets are full of Easter stuff, including paskhas, which are stacked up in cheerful piles, wrapped in cellophane. But its always better to bake your own bread, which most Ukrainians in fact still do.

 A Family Affair
Perhaps not surprisingly, tradition surrounds the paskha. Preparing a good one was considered one of the most important tasks of the year and in the past people believed that the future could depend on how this holiday bread turned out. Every homemaker, therefore, wanted her paskha to be the best and the biggest, and so while baking it she performed various magical gestures and muttered incantations these being holdovers from Ukraines rich pagan past, which in fact hasnt completely disappeared from village life in the nations west. The bread-baker had to keep her thoughts pure and the household had to remain quiet so that the bread could retain its fluffy texture in the oven. It was also customary to keep the baking of the paskha strictly a family affair: neighbours or strangers were not permitted to enter the house while the paskha was coming to life. The paskhas ancient roots as a ritual food were evidenced not only by the rituals performed during the preparations and the baking, but also by the decorations which adorned it. The top of the paskha was covered with signs, some of them pre-Christian. There were crosses, certainly, but also solar signs, rosettes, leaves, pine cones, and sometimes even birds and bees. Given the deep and even mystical symbolism that inheres in this food, you can see why buying one at a supermarket is a shame. Nor can you celebrate Easter here without pisanky. There are thousands of ways to decorate pisanky nowadays. The simplest and one of the best-known ways is to put eggs and onion peels into boiling water. The peels will stain the eggs a nice yellow or brown. Another way is to paint it or plaster it with stickers. Now, whats the point of decorating eggs in the first place? The tradition goes back to the pagan past. The egg has always been perceived as a source of life, a stand-in for the sun and the universe. Easter is a big family holiday in this part of the world, so youve got to prepare a lot of food. All that Easter food usually goes into a basket, which the mistress of the house places in the middle of the table during Easter dinner, or presents to neighbours or friends. According to Ukrainian tradition the Easter basket is considered the pride and joy of a family. People judged the mistress of the house according to the way her Easter basket looked, what it contained, and how it was decorated. The basket should be lined with a newly embroidered serviette or with a white napkin. An embroidered serviette should be used to cover the basket. Very ambitious housewives have two embroidered serviettes - one for lining the basket and one for covering it. Remember, the basket should contain only a sampling of the foods you are going to eat at Easter: its a symbolic thing. The basket will look finished after you tie a red ribbon around the handle and stick some spring flowers in it. Heres another Easter tradition that you see a lot in small towns: the cutting of pussywillow branches. Since pagan times, pussywillow blooms have been seen as a sign of spring and were thought to have healthful qualities if ingested. Pagan Ukrainians would cut the branches and swat one another with them, to bless each other. When Palm Sunday began to be celebrated the pussywillow assumed the duty of the palm branch that was used in the rest of the world. Nowadays people present one another with pussywillow branches instead of flowers. They dont beat each other with them anymore.

 Viktoria Vasilchenko

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Comments (2)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
aaqyfnjx | 24.11.2011 19:38

Vls0yB nccyxsdzdufm

Dalton | 20.11.2011 23:01

Wow, that's a really celevr way of thinking about it!

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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