FEASTS AND FESTIVALS IN UKRAINE
Independence Day of Ukraine – an official holiday in Ukraine.
Celebrated annually on August 24.
On August 24, 1991 Ukraine proclaimed its independence (till that time it was a part of the USSR as Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic). The act of proclaiming independence of Ukraine of August 24, 1991 was adopted on December 1, 1991 by nationwide vote. This event became public holiday since June 1992, when Supreme Soviet issued a decree to consider August 24 Independence Day of Ukraine.
In the capital of Ukraine city of Kyiv celebration of Independence Day traditionally begins on August 23, the Day of State Flag of Ukraine, on Constitution Square near the Mariinsky palace with a solemn flag-raising ceremony with participation of head of state. The same ceremony is held in all regions of the country.
On the same day head of state together with representatives of Ukrainian authorities and the public places flowers to monuments of Volodymyr the Great, Bogdan Khmelnytsky, Taras Shevchenko, Mykhaylo Hrushevsky.
Official events on Independence Day begin in St. Sophia cathedral with prayer for Ukraine and Ukrainian people. Then, on the main street of the capital, Khreshchatyk passes parade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. During this event the president addresses with appeal to Ukrainian people.
In Central park of culture and leisure, on Independence Square, in park of culture and leisure «Partisan glory», on stage of city park, Palace of culture «Darnytsya» are traditionally held holiday concerts with participation of Ukrainian bands and performers, concerts of amateur performance groups, and also youth cultural and artistic actions and festive mass-entertainment programs. In the park «Victory» is held the Festival of elite martial arts, and on Trukhanov island – Festival of national Ukrainian martial arts. In Pechersk landscape park for many years opens flower exhibition, within the scope of which is held competition in floristics. The celebration of Independence Day of Ukraine ends with holiday fireworks.
Residents and guests of Lviv traditionally celebrate Independence Day during five days. Celebrations begin with opening of festival «Ethnic swirl» and parade of dance groups from Ukraine and other countries. Participants of the parade go along central part of the city. The festival includes gala concerts, master classes in dance, evenings of friendship, fairs of both Ukrainian and foreign craftsmen.
In these days is held international festival of independent films «KinoLev» («Cinema Lion».).
In Lviv S. Krushelnytska National Opera and Ballet Theater is held solemn event on occasion of Independence Day of Ukraine.
In B. Khmelnytsky park of culture and Museum of folk architecture and life “Shevchenko’s grove” are organized holiday concerts with participation of children’s artistic groups of the city.
At Rynok Square in the evening sounds classical music of symphony orchestras.
The celebrations end up in the evening of August 24 at A. Mitskevych Square by concert with participation of Ukrainian stage stars.
National Sorochynsky Fair (August)
National Sorochynsky Fair is the most famous fair in Ukraine. It is held in the village of Velyki Sorochyntsi, Myrhorod district, Poltava region in August. The fair became known after publishing of story «Sorochynsky Fair» by Mykola Vasylyovych Gogol, who was born in the village of Velyki Sorochyntsi. In his work the author recreated poetry of people’s life, realistically displayed the various representatives of Ukrainian people, artistically decorated all this with sharp humor.
The basis of its activity the National Sorochynsky Fair has, above all, support of domestic producers. During the period of project existence significantly changed for the better conditions for trade of folk craftsmen, entrepreneurs, public catering facilities. Two small Towns of Craftsmen open the fair from the main entrance. They are well equipped, suitable for trade and presentation of products of folk craftsmen.
Cultural program is a decoration of National Sorochynsky Fair. Theatrical performances, shows of amateur and professional groups, concerts of stars are held on the main and small stages, near ethnographic farmstead Khivri, main entrances to the fair grounds and «Mill» area. The greatest impression on visitors produces theatrical performance with participation of the heroes of Gogol’s works and «M.V. Gogol himself», which open market day every morning, driving across the filed on the only one in Ukraine real oxen.
Folk bands from all regions of Ukraine, without exception, take part in the cultural program, they amaze visitors with impressive songs, dances, costumes. A variety of contests, presentations, festivals, entertaining programs are held with the involvement of artists.
Everyone who wants to visit National Sorochynsky Fair may get in touch with green tourism. Hospitable villagers of Velyki Sorochyntsi are always ready to receive guests and show them all the charms of rural life. Spacious, with flavors of herbs and flowers, their estates warmly welcome visitors, will warm in coolness and protect from broiling sun. Everyone has the opportunity to taste the most delicious dishes of Ukrainian cuisine.
In spare from fair time, you can visit the local shrine Church of Our Savior and Transfiguration, ethnographic museum or M.V. Gogol’s museum.
International Hutsul festival (August)
International Hutsual festival is held for many years in various regions of Ukrainian Carpathians. At one time, Verkhovyna, Kolomiya, Kosiv, Nadvirna and Yaremche in Ivano-Frankivsk regioin, Rakhiv in Zakarpattya region, Vyzhnytsya and Putyla in Chernivtsi region welcomed the festival. The aim of the festival is to develop and promote traditional folk arts, customs, rites of ethnic group of Ukrainians – Hutsuls, discovery of original artistic groups, individual performers and masters of fine, decorative and applied arts.
The festival competitive programs in several categories: vocal ensembles, choirs, orchestras of folk instruments, theater, artistic poetic word, folk Hutsul dance, visual arts, etc.
Traditionally are also held scientific and practical conferences with participation of scholars, local historians, art historians, government officials, concerned officials of public organizations of USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentine, Great Britain, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Moldova, Russia, Belarus and other countries.
During the festival days guests have the opportunity to taste delicious Hutsul dishes.
Sophisticated patterns, interlaced ornaments, vociferous performers, melodic sounds of music instruments, magical hands of masters – all of this is the treasury of Hutsul soul, which is open for all comers at the congress of admirers of Ukrainian traditions and unforgettable annual Hutsul holiday.
Burns, blazes and does not fade fire of Lemko bonfire! (August)
Lemkos – representatives of Western branch of Ukrainian people, who for centuries lived in Carpathians, in 1944-1945 had been deported because of criminal agreement between governments of Poland and USSR. For decades Lemkos cherish the love to their native land. Deprived of their historical homeland, ethnographic roots, family and economic ties, they at one time were doomed to assimilation. Over the past few years in the life of Lemko community in Ukraine there are many positive changes. «Program of revival and preservation of Lemko land» was adopted, Ukrainian society «Lemko land» began to operate. Numerous creative events are held. In many localities Lemkos celebrate traditional Lemko festivals – kermeshi.
For several years in the town of Monastyrynsk, Ternopil region is held the only in Ukraine traditional Ukrainian festival of Lemko culture «Bells of Lemko land».
The festival is always notable for rich concert program, because of participation of dozens of artistic groups from Ternopil, Zhytomyr, Poltava, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Luhansk regions. Groups from Canada, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia also participate in concert program of the festival. Dance and song traditions of Lemkos, their rich cultural and spiritual heritage are well represented at the festival.
Traditionally the festival begins with official opening ceremony, setting on bonfire. Next to the concert arena operates town of craftsmen, where all individuals can see how in the hands of a man is born clay bowl, wicker of twigs or straw, embroidery, forged piece. In the evenings, a festive dance program, which lasts until morning, awaits for young people. During the festival visitors have the opportunity to read and buy books about Lemko land, crafts of national applied art, taste traditional dishes.
In addition to entertaining activities is provided spiritual program, ended by Divine Liturgy in Lemko Chapel.
A few days of holding festival of Lemko culture «Bells of Lemko land» are always filled with informative and enjoyable leisure, interesting encounters and fun. The spiritual significance of the festival, which becomes a meeting place for thousands of guests and participants of the festival, who are scattered all over the world, is very big.
Festival «Red wine»
Wine is loved and appreciated in Mukachevo. And the history of the city is directly connected with this drink. In 1376 Queen of Hungary and Poland Elizabeth gave the city «peresh» – right of medieval European self-government and allowed Mukachevo to affix seal for affirming agreements on purchase and sale of vineyards and wine.
Tradition to hold in Mukachevo on the old New Year’s Eve and St. Basil Day festival «Red wine» was established in 1996. The festival is a real holiday, with carols, prizes and, of course, tasting. The variety of wines, their tastes and colors, the originality of barrels and bottles and, of course, the amount of alcohol consumed is really staggering. On the choice white wine, red wine and rose wine, hot and cold, with spices and honey… To list all varieties, which are represented here, is just so hard like to taste wine from each manufacturer. Therefore, recently the organizers extended festival to three days. Many connoisseurs from all over Ukraine and neighboring countries come to drink real Transcarpathian wine.
Both private wine-makers and well-known companies take part in the festival. The jury, consisting of highly skilled professionals, determines the best among winemaking enthusiasts, it also selects the most delicious wines in nominations – best red, white and dessert wine. The competent jury and tasting commission summarizing the results take into account not only the quality of wine, but also the design of place of trade and culture of service. The winners receive live pigs as prizes. Sheep, flour and oak barrels are also presented.
Friendly residents of the city are able to make from festival «Red wine» a real theatrical show, you will not see sad faces on this festival of healthful beverage of earth and sun. People are joking and singing carols, all are in good mood! The festival holds a variety of events, in particular, theatrical show «A goblet of wine will not harm us», concert of folklore groups, competition of school Nativity plays, regional festival «Nativity play-2010».
Flugery Lvova Ethno-Jazz Festival (May)
/Weather-Vanes of Lviv/
The annual International jazz festival Flugery Lvova Festival is usually held in early May in an exclusively placed at its disposal the courtyard of the Lviv City Hall.The Festival was launched in 2003 and every next year it used to put on its weight & enriche its program with new literary actions, happenings, media projects. One of the most attractive traditions of the Festival is the concert-happening "Get Up! with Mertvyj Piven’ held on Sundays (early morning).