From ancient times, Easter eggs have carried deep symbolism.
Easter eggs are considered a source of life by many nations around the world. Pysankarstvo is the art of decorating Easter eggs with traditional symbols by applying wax and dyes in layers. This is an ancient form of art. Archeological evidence shows that pysankarstvo was widespread in Ukraine since the times of the Trypillian culture (between 5400-2700 B.C.), if not earlier. The ancient springtime holiday – Easter, adopted by Christianity, has always been associated with pysanka. This ancient custom of exchanging ornamented eggs or charms has been preserved as sacred ritual to this day.
There are different kinds of pysanky and various technologies behind their creation. Researchers claim that the Ukrainian pysanka has more than 100 symbolic patterns. Every curl or spiral in each pysanka carries a sacred meaning and symbolism. Ukrainians always treasure the Easter pysanka tradition. To get closely acquainted with the wonderful world of pysanky, you should visit the very unusual and the one and only museum in the world located in the Ukrainian town of Kolomyia.
Traditional Ukrainian Folk Music Instruments
The tsymbaly (hammer dulcimer) is one of the oldest string instruments in the world.
Cave paintings dating from 3500 B.C. depict this instrument, indicating its ancient origins. The hammer dulcimer arrived in medieval Europe from Middle East.
J. Shunda, who worked as a music master at the Hungarian royal court and in 1874, constructed the first concert dulcimer, thus popularizing this instrument around Europe. In Ukraine, different kinds of folk tsymbaly became popular in the seventeenth century.
Tsymbaly is a popular instrument in Ukrainian bands. It is very lively, with a dynamic sound, and it is essential for dance music during Ukrainian holidays and wedding traditions. The wedding march music, polka, hopak, hutsulkas for singing and dancing, kolomyikas and many other different melodies are played on tsymbaly. Folk tsymbaly is created in Hutsulshchyna. Tsymbaly is very popular in Canada among the ethnic Ukrainian diaspora, where numerous music competitions take place, and this instrument defines “Ukrainian-ness” in the local music scene.
Traditional Ukrainian folk music is unimaginable without the sounds of the kobza and the bandura.
Both of these string folk instruments are very valuable in Ukrainian tradition.
Kobza is an instrument that was developed prior to bandura, and it is perfected and undeniably a very important instrument in the world of Ukrainian folk music.
Kobza-bandura players have been depicted in the musical art since the twelfth century. The kobza gained popularity and prominence during the height of Ukrainian Kozak culture. Itinerant kobzars performed songs in various genres, and as a cultural phenomenon it involved much more than singing and strumming a tune. Kobzarstvo, as a phenomenon provided the inner voice of Ukraine’s common folk. Kobzars were poets and chroniclers. These unnamed singers of Ukrainian history and culture inspired national dignity and unity. Given this role, it is no wonder that in the 1930’s a campaign against Ukrainian nationalism was launched and many kobzars were arrested and disappeared.
The most common type of kobzars was kobzars-improvisers. They performed well-known pieces differently every time. In modern day, this music improvisation is called freestyle. There is a reason for the famous Ukrainian poet’s collection. Taras Shevchenko’s “Kobzar” collection was ironically called “the initial Ukrainian Rap.”
Until recently, the trembita served as the “mobile phone” of Ukrainian Carpathians.
In communication technology, this folk mouthpiece instrument is of cultural and practical value. A classic trembita is three meters and twenty centimeters long, with sound frequency reaching across many dozens of kilometers. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that trembita became the main signal for communication for mountaineers. The entire life of a Carpathian village could be voiced with this pipe: from one mountain to another, shepherds shared important news, warned about danger, informed of new births, sent out wedding invitations and accompanied the departed on their final journey with their sorrowful melodies.
In modern times, of high-speed technology, this authentic instrument is not in great demand by far, but it is still utilized by musicians specializing in Ukrainian folk music. The trembita instrument is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest instrument, measuring up to eight meters in length. A real trembita is supposed to be made of hromovytsia – a tree that was hit by lightning.
From the book, Awesome Ukraine. Publishing House “Osnovy”.
To subscribe or purchase the magazine http://inlovemag.com/subscribe/