Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Wedding Vinok Instructions

The Ukrainian wedding wreath is called a vinok. The word is related to the Ukrainian word for a marriage ceremony - vinchannya. It is a lovely symbol of everlasting love to wear a wreath of evergreen periwinkle - barvinok in Ukrainian. Even in the autumn and possibly under the snow in a protected area you may find periwinkle growing, protected by its mystical evergreen properties. The amazingly delicate strands of this prolific ground cover are gathered, and wound together to form a wreath.

The actual process is rather simple. Take two longish strands and cross their ends. Taking a third strand, place it between the two strands. Using one of the outside strands, simply wind the barvinok a couple of times to bind the three. Hold the bound part closely in your fingertips. Repeat the process with more strands, step by step, binding each individually. The closer you place the leaves one to another, the more lush the wreath, however the green strands woven together this way look beautiful too.

The vinkopletennia event is traditionally a collaboration of women who beautify the wreath for the bride. Remember to pass the wreath through many hands, pinching the last twining.

 The young bride will appreciate the many hands, young and old, who witnessed her transition through the marriage preparations, and the vinchannya.  In this case, the bride's baba played a very important role.  The entire vinkopletennia was beautiful however BABA's blessing, wisdom and loving welcome made it perfect.

My gentleman florist friend believed that the evergreen wasn't beautiful enough and tried to hot-glue on little white baby's breath flowers - didn't work. Then he did some research and discovered individual sheets of gold leaf to overlay onto the leaves - which might have worked on hardier leaves or perhaps a dry product - not worth the bother. Then a young bride mentioned that a bit of gold spray paint might shine up the leaves - but the concensus among the ladies was that the barvinok itself was beautiful enough.

Gather enough long, long strands for the wreath. Keep them clean and cool in a bowl. When the wreath is measured correctly to fit (remember to make two to fit the married couple's heads), you need not crush the strands too harshly with bobbypins.

Storing the wreath(s) between weaving at the vinkopletennia and the vinchannya (marriage ceremony) is important. Keep the wreath cool, wrapped to prevent it drying out, possibly misting the leaves to make them shine.

A vinok, made by many hands, together at a vinkopletennia is a beautiful gift for a bride.  The ceremony, the tradition, togetherness, life, love and hope everlasting - what a way to start the next part of her journey through life!




Monday, 24 September 2012

PLAST 100th Anniversary

Kat Owad's photo of Daria Storoschuk and Michael Kyzmyn September 22,2012
After the lovely evening of celebrating PLAST's 100th anniversary, Stanichna Marusia Ilnysky and a pantheon of able leaders in the PLAST Calgary group must be feeling remarkably satisfied. What a great time!

The Saturday celebration began with a Divine Liturgy at St. Stephens's Ukrainian Church, followed by a PLAST gathering that honored the littlest scouts, down to the Founder of the International Scouts Movement Lord Baden-Powell, Ukrainian leaders Tysowsky, and honored the recently reposed Oleh Kandyba of Toronto too. It was a very moving event, that all the participants are sure to remember for a while. PLAST leaders from Toronto, and Edmonton's groups were able to participate, as were guests from Kyiv, and across Canada. Grandparents, aunties and uncles all enjoyed the event!

Picture perfect moments included the 100 hands who helped to light the ceremonial vatra in the hall, tableau vignettes of PLAST's history, and an operatic version of Cinderella in Ukrainian acted by PLAST Calgary's parents and instructors. Just so generous and fun!

The banguet meal was delicious, and the generous support from clergy at St. Stephen's made for a perfectly rounded out evening. Proud parents walked the tired little ones out of the facility in a haze of Ukrainian folk songs, folk tales, Ukrainian humor, and community unity. Diakuyou and congratulations to PLAST on their first 100 years of cultural/educational work with Ukrainian youth, here in the diaspora and in Ukraine.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

An Energy Story

Calgary people who work in the energy industry like to keep tabs on energy stories elsewhere.  With oil companies of every sort in the city, Calgarians are connected in some small way to some of the world's biggest energy producers, including Shell and Chevron - Europe's biggest.  So it is interesting that Ukraine has been seeking alternatives to its dependence on Russian gas imports.   Recently Shell won a tender to start commercial production (shale gas extraction) at the Yuzivka field in eastern Ukraine. 

You may wonder where this opportunity is located.  Way back in 1869, a Welsh businessman called John Hughes established a steel mill and several coal mines in the area at the heart of the Donetsk Basin, south east of Kyiv, on the Kalmius River.  They called it Yuzivka in his honor, but the industrial opportunity caused a "wild-west" experience that grew into a city of 50 thousand.  In the early twenties the Soviets renamed the place Stalino, and modern water supply and sewage systems improved life there.  The energy hungry World War II years increased employment and population there.  During Krushchev's time the place was renamed Donetsk in honor of the Donetsk Siverskiy river.  Since then, this regional heart of Donbas has diversified into engineering and food production. Today the population is just over a million, similar in size to Calgary.  Donetsk city is blessed with a skilled workforce, economic, industrial and scientific assets, and initiative driven companies. It has recently received recognition from UNESCO as one of the most clean industrial cities, high praise in a time of eco-sensitivity. Today it has the most fabulous and modern sport stadium.

So the investment opportunity lies there, in the Donetsk basin, waiting on a variety of test results.  The potential is there for Ukraine to look optimistically at its energy future. Possible doubling or even tripling of its natural-gas production over a ten year cycle implementing shale gas extraction technologies is good news for Ukraine and its democracy. Freeing Ukraine from import obligations, it could make a huge difference to Ukraine's energy story and turn Ukraine into an influential player on the European gas market. It may also encourage closer identification with nation, culture and language - of Ukraine.

Perhaps long time Alberta residents see some common themes from Alberta's energy story here. 
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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ukrainian Museum of Canada - Calgary Collection

Calgary's Herald has recently featured The Ukrainian Museum of Canada, on its Travel Pages.

(http://www.calgaryherald.com/travel/Travel+Ukrainian+Museum+Canada/7254258/story.html  )
The Museum was founded by the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada in 1936.  With a great collection that presents the Ukrainian Canadian experience, this Saskatoon Museum is but one of 5 in the collection of associated museums, museums with a similar mission.  With 4 Branches scattered in the provincial capitals of BC, Edmonton, Manitoba and Toronto, Calgary is very fortunate to host the Calgary Collection of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada.  It is a very special gem of a museum. 

The Calgary Collection of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada features exponents about the immigrant experience of Ukrainians to Canada.  Some of the items are directly connected with the Calgary scene!  With very interesting educational programs and exhibits, the Calgary Collection hosts school tours, and visting groups regularly.   Ukrainian Calgary can be very proud of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada - Calgary Collection. For more information:  http://uwac-calgary.ca/cultural-education-pages/
and http://www.stvlads.com/museum.html.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Alberta-Ukraine Advantage

The Ukrainian-Albertan relationship has been forged over the last 120 or so more years. Alberta wasn't even a province when the first immigrants from Ukraine arrived in the Edna/Star (Lamont-Andrew) area (1890's). Alberta became a province in 1905. It has been great timing for Ukrainian Albertans, starting out as labourers and farmers in those days. Without a doubt, those settler's ancestral agrarian life (animal husbandry, mining, etc.) served as a vivid example for their advocacy in relation to Alberta's resource development.

But Alberta has been a great place to foster the development of our human resources (people) too.  Public education, encouraging individual talents, building a safety net to protect those in need, and encouraging a lively discussion about how our society continues to develop, Alberta is a place for personal growth and responsibility.    

"In the fruition of time" Ukrainian Albertans have become a part of everything Canadian. Bringing ancestral learnings here, contemplating examples of other cultural world views, the Alberta project is a special blend. It seems to be working.

Clearly, people are at the core of Alberta's successes.  Forging ties with the ancestral homelands of many immigrant groups, our governmental representatives have fostered a good relationship with Ukraine, and its diaspora here in Alberta.  Cultural/linguistic opportunity, community development, humanitarian aid, and economic ties have been made possible. To understand the depth and breadth of the Ukrainian-Alberta relationship, and to knowledgeably take part in our Alberta-Ukraine Advantage one needs to look at the document link below.  Tons of information about Ukrainian Alberta.  I hope you enjoy reading. 


Friday, 14 September 2012

Growing Interest in Ukrainian Language Classes

With all the recent political discussions around Ukraine's new language policy, it is interesting to me when people pop little discussion issues on your lap.  Just as recently as Sunday, a person asked whether Calgary is hosting Ukrainian language classes for Adults again.  Then another person sent me information about one Alberta community's Ukrainian Language Classes - and wow was I floored.  Can you imagine that there are (to date) 59 adults registered in their Ukrainian language program?  With that number of people registering, they are now needing a few more teachers!

So, what is happening?  Well, I have a theory.  When I was studying language acquisition theory in university (yes there was such a course in the olden days), one of the points that caught my attention was the issue of assimilation.  Turns out that the first new Canadians try so hard to acclimatize themselves to the new English language and culture that there is scant time to think.  Then their children get the notion that their ancestral language is of less value (and I suppose it is for a short time when you need to speak English well at work and school).  So the children are not encouraged to maintain the language, they grow up and then they are in a quandry.  With "old" people modeling the "old" language, and the "younger" people developing less fluency, the "youngest" people almost have no options.  Either they look for a community of language models, or they lose their opportunities to acquire their ancestral language.  (Well at least that is the theory in shorthand.)

So, now I understand.  The generations of Canadians who worked hard to establish themselves, gain employment,"fit in" in Canadian society, did their best.  Then their children tried to respect their "elder" tongue.  But their grandchildren, upon their early retirement years, who probably never had a chance to better their linguistic fluency, now have the time and desire to "catch up".  Bravo for them!  Bravo for programs which foster ancestral languages!  Bravo for leaders who recognize and honor this "pent up" desire to reconnect with "home" (including geneology).

Our most tender feelings, our earliest prayers, our folklore, traditions and our subconscious-most vulnerable selves are captured in the language of our earliest homelife.  The "net" of understandings creates who we are, at the very beginnings of who we are.  It is said, that there is no sweeter sound than the "mother's tongue".


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

St. Mary's University and Ukrainian Catholic University Partnership

Calgary's academic community is forging a fabulous relationship with the Ukrainian Catholic University! Calgary's St. Mary's University College, a wonderful learning academy, is celebrating this special exchange agreement with the Ukrainian Catholic University with a lovely evening event on September 25th. 

The Calgary Friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) invite you to an evening featuring traditional Ukrainian cuisine to be held at St Stephen Protomartyr Ukrainian Catholic Church Hall. Details of our 4th annual event in support of UCU’s Exchange Agreement with St. Mary’s University College will be presented. For more information call our information line (403) 670-9145.

The Calgary Friends of theUkrainian Catholic University
PO Box 1362 Stn. M 
Calgary, AB., T2P 2L2  (403)670-9145

calgary.friends.ucu@ucef.ca  www.ucef.org www.ucu.edu.ua

Make Baba Proud

Sadochok - Ukranian Preschool
Pani Olena and Pani Valentyna and the entire parent council of Sadochok are pleased to announce a new program with different child care options for this school year.  Sadochok is now a 5 day service, with options listed below.  If you have a preschool child,  MAKE BABA PROUD and share a love of everything Ukrainian with them.

MORNING PROGRAM (8am-12 noon)

¨ 3 year old - 2 days per week - Mon/Wed

¨ 3 year old - 3 days per week -- Mon/Wed/Fri

¨ 4 year old - 2 days per week – Tue/Thu

¨ 4 year old - 3 days per week – Tue/Thu/Fri

¨ Lunch supervision (12-1pm)

FULL DAY PROGRAM (8am-5pm) – lunch supervision included

¨ 3 year old - 2 days per week - Mon/Wed

¨ 3 year old - 3 days per week - Mon/Wed/Fri

¨ 4 year old - 2 days per week – Tue/Thu

¨ 4 year old - 3 days per week – Tue/Thu/Fri


¨ 5 year olds - circle afternoons desired: Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri

¨ Lunch supervision (12-1pm)

With certified teachers and a licensed facility and program, Sadochok is Calgary's only Ukrainian Preschool Childcare program.  Please recommend this wonderful service to your family and friends and MAKE BABA PROUD!

Alberta Culture Days at Mount Royal

I bumped into Stephania Romaniuk at The Mount Royal Conservatory a few days ago. A wonderful musician herself, she was excited to advocate for the rich cultural life in our province, especially for "Alberta Culture Days" this year from Sept. 28-30 at Mount Royal. Exciting performance and workshops will be featured. All performances and workshops are free and open to the public! More information is available at www.mtroyal.ca/abculturedays.

Featuring performers including the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, the event will host performances and workshops from a variety of cultures and genres (Flamenco dance, Venezuelan choir, Loose Moose Theatre Company improv, Iranian musician).  See these performers and Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble perform at the Leacock Theatre on the Mount Royal University Complex on Saturday September 19 at 7 p.m.
Instructors from the Tryzub ensemble will also give two Ukrainian dance workshops for beginners - one for adults from 2:15-3:15 p.m. and one for children from 3:30-4:15 p.m. on campus on Saturday, Sept. 29.

What an exciting way to spend the weekend!
On behalf of Stephania and MRC, please feel free to forward this invitation to friends and family - all are welcome and invited!

Stephania Romaniuk

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Ukrainian School - Ridna Shkola in Calgary

via Marusia Buranich on Facebook

Well it is September again, and time to register the children in Ukrainian language programs - such a rich and rewarding gift of culture and family tradition!!  So I spoke with Olena Kanevska, one of the teachers at St. Vladimir's Ukrainian School recently.  She was excited to tell me about attending the Ukrainian School Teacher's Conference in Toronto earlier this summer!  I guess a lot of people are on the same page, programs growing, changing, adapting, all with the intent of supporting families in their desire to pass on the best of ancestral traditions to their children! A lot of teachers from across Canada participated this year!
So Olena told me the conference was a few days long.  On the first day, they discussed introducing a program called"Sonechko",  to help kids get to learn a lot of Ukrainian songs.  The new methodology is designed teach songs and poems to help with memory and language fluency.  On the second day, there were two sessions.  The one Olena participated in was excellent.  Teachers shared their experience in reading Ukrainian fairy tales to children for education purposes that can be used in Sadochok and especially for students who love literature. Olena says the materials and knowledge acquired during sessions 2 and 3 were very helpful and supportive of Ridna Shkola growth.  On day three, Olena says she was thrilled to see her favorite methodology for language teaching was being celebrated. "We always use a lot of games during our classes but I learned more games that will add fun and interest to our activities."
St. Vladimir's Ukrainian School will probably start September, 21 or 28. The administration expects at  least two groups - younger and older, and the program will be growing, including Ukrainian, History and Geography.  They anticipate the continuation of another teenagers group to complete their Ukrainian 10, 20 and 30 too. (Nice when the children can achieve their high school credits for Ukrainian lessons here in Calgary!!)
Congratulations to Olena and the Ridna Shkola (Ukrainian School) Teachers at St. Vladimir's Saturday School for adapting the program to Calgary needs! Thanks to Calgary UWAC for supporting Ridna Shkola again. 
Time to register the children!  Call Michelle at 403-264-3437 for further information!!  

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Soyuz Ukrainok Kanadi - UWAC-Calgary

Calgary's Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada is celebrating its 80 anniversary!  Since before 1932-33 UWAC Calgary has been an essential partner in service at St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Congregation, but oh, so much more.  Through their community work,  the women of UWAC have helped celebrate Ukrainian culture here in Calgary, share it with fellow Canadians, and promote the Ukrainian idea to many generations. 

Viewing the amazingly organized UWAC Calgary Archives, one can appreciate the lively and stimulating core of activity in UWAC Calgary over these 80 plus years. And UWAC Calgary is continuing to develop its enduring legacy.  Honoring this special anniversary, UWAC Calgary has initiated an innovative social media project by which to capture these rich and diverse perspectives.

Images of UWAC Calgary, its relationships in Calgary, its Ukrainian community, and its spiritual home at St. Vladimir's Congregation capture part of the story.  However a picture tells a thousand words - or perhaps more.  And though each image tells an exciting chapter, and each chapter contains multiple characters, and each character has a point of view, these stories are yet to be written. 

Calgary's Soyuzianky encourage you to visit the website, view the images, and comment, contribute stories, memories, anecdotes connected with the images.  Visit often as the site develops over time.  Take the opportunity to "flesh out" the background story, the laughter, tears, faith, love and friendships! 

So many stories to tell, and little opportunity?  Welcome to an innovative collaboration in writing the story of Calgary's Soyuz Ukrainok Kanadi.   www.uwac-Calgary.ca

Friday, 7 September 2012

Hromada - Community

Seasons change, time passes, but some things remain.  You can change your work, the color of your hair, the size of your bank account, but one thing remains.  You can't change the facts around your birth, your mother, your family and your heritage.  It is what it is.  So you might as well cherish and pay homage to the ancestry who created such a person as yourself.

Ancestry.com and other sites like Reunion.com make it possible to reconstruct a family's lineage.  But that is after the fact information.  Wouldn't it be nice to know your overseas family earlier?

The Ukrainian community in Calgary is a fair mix of newly arrived Canadians and many of the earlier stock.  It would be so nice if we could help each other a bit more!

A few years back my folks became acquainted with a new-aspiring Canadian, but he eventually decided to return home.  But they have retained contact.  Through this gentleman, it has become possible to make closer ties with the old family places in Ukraine.  He scouted out the cemetaries, the tiny hamlets, and found roads signs that showed places Google Maps couldn't find.  It has just taken a personal touch, a relationship of mutual benefit.

I really hope our new Canadians from Ukraine feel welcome in our community, because who knows how our relationships could grow over time.  Bravo for your aspirations to become Canadian, but also Bravo and Mnohaya Lita for those who are striving to make Ukraine a better place today and in the future!

Here are some new lyrics to the Ukrainian National Anthem - I hope you are moved!
EGOIST - Revolution - Новий Гiмн України 2012

Ania Jacyniak's photo

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Calgary's Ukrainian Pioneer Park

Ukrainian Canadian Congress logo
"strong because we are united"
Calgary's Ukrainian Pioneer Park is located on the 600 block of 7th Avenue.  A little to the east of Edmonton Trail, kittty corner from the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption, Ukrainian Pioneer Park is a testament to the early settlers in the area, dedicated to celebrating Calgary's Ukrainian community.  
Ukrainian Pioneer Park- Calgary

This is a lovely, little park in the Renfrew area.  With a playground for little ones, and park benches to sit on, it provides a gentle respite to the busy schedule.  There is a little corner store across the street where you can purchase a little snack to enjoy while the kids play at the park.  

Ukrainian Pioneer Park-Calgary
Until the 1940's this was farmland. During the Second World War, there was a Royal Canadian Air Force training base and airfield here. It served as Calgary's airport too. Once the airport was relocated from its original site (on the corner of present-day 6th Street and Regal Crescent), the area was developed for residential use.

In 1991 (marking a century of Ukrainian Canadian settlement) a monument to the Ukrainian Pioneers was celebrated by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the City of Calgary.  Make a point of bringing guests to Calgary to the Ukrainian landmarks in our great city, and thank Canada for welcoming Ukrainians for over a century!    


Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is the English name for several daisy-like plants that grow, sometimes wild, in gardens across the prairies.  The lovely little plants have a soft fragrance, but since ancient times, chamomile has been used for its medicinal and therapeutic qualities.  Some people use dried chamomile flowerets made into a tea, which is commonly used to help with sleep.  Serving it with honey or lemon is delightful. 

There are other uses for chamomile too.  Treating indigestion, insomnia and cholic are common uses, but did you know my grandmother had a folk-medicine approach to chamomile use?  Of course, she would. 

When "stomach issues" plagued me as a young teenage girl, my grandmother would regularly brew up a pot of chamomile tea.  Serving tea in fancy tea-cups, I wonder whether tea was served for its medicinal qualities (calming cramps), or for the wonderful, soft social aspect of grandmotherly attention.  We would sit and talk, after which it was usually time to take the spent chamomile tea, dilute with rain water, and rinse my blonde hair.  She said the chamomile would make my hair bright and shiney.  Since then, of course, I have found chamomile used in a huge variety of cosmetological products - shampoo, soaps, etc.  Baba was actually pretty savvy with regards to chamomile.

Did you know that chamomile is a general "healer" plant?  It seems that if you have ailing plants in your garden, planting chamomile beside them restores their general health!  Didn't know that!

Chamomile appears in Ukrainian folklore, folk songs and folk art too. "Roman", "romashka", "romianok",  these are all names for the daisy variants.  "Romianok"- the littlest ones, seed themselves generously through gardens, unfortunately we usually weed them away.  Too bad, they are a great little sparkle of joy! 

Spirit of the Seasons - Suzirya Ukrainian Dance Theatre

One has to admire the positivity of Suzirya's approach to dance.  Joyful, enthusiastic, forward looking!  With one glance back into the folkloric traditions of Ukraine, and a grande gesture forward, the talented and professionally trained dancers of Calgary's Suzirya Ukrainian Dance Theatre (under the direction of Serguei Makarov), share the timeless beauty of dance.  I hope you will mark these upcoming dates in your calendar and join in the "spirit of the seasons". 

SUZIRYA Ukrainian Dance Theatre is excited to announce the performance of their upcoming production, "Spirit of the Seasons" at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium on Saturday, October 13th and a second show in Edmonton on Sunday, October 21st at the Arden Theatre. www.suzirya.com

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Celebrating our Volunteers- Hetman Awards 2012

Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Alberta Provincial Council
Honouring our Ukrainian Community Volunteers !

Acknowledging our amazing Ukrainian Calgary volunteers, this year's Ukrainian Canadian Congress is celebrating some special people from Calgary! 

Volunteers are the heart of our Ukrainian Calgary community, giving of their time, treasure and talent to create a climate in which the Ukrainian idea can thrive here on the Western Canadian prairies.  They honor us, they treasure their heritage, and give selflessly in service to something greater than one individual.  Often their whole families are dedicated to this idea of "paying it forward" in the hopes that future generations may enjoy the services and community life we cherish so. 

Since 1998, UCC Alberta has celebrated these outstanding Albertans of Ukrainian heritage.  Over the years many Albertans, and many Calgarians have been on the honoree list.  In the 2012 year, there are at least three (I know of personally) who are to be honored at the Hetman Awards Gala in Edmonton this fall.  Julianna Michayluk nominated for (among her other talents) her service to CYMK in the youth category, Lessia Savedchuk who has been nominated for her endless enthusiastic contributions and leadership (among other talents) by PLAST Ukrainian Scouts Calgary, and Shirley Din, in the posthumous category, for her many years of dedication and Presidency of the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada- Calgary Branch at St. Vladimir's Congregation, will each be publicly honored. 

Let's publicly recognize those whose long time service has built our community.  If you know the names of other honorees, past or present, you are welcome to comment on this blog, and share the congratulations with all the UkrainianCalgary blog readers.  Congratulations and sincere gratitude to all Hetman Award recipients!!