This month we are “traveling” east to “explore” Ukraine. With the current revolution in Ukraine and hearing about it in the news each night, it seems like a perfect time to learn more about the country. Of course it is also more difficult to get current information since it is changing.
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe and is the largest country entirely in Europe. Its capital is Kiev. The land has been inhabited for the past 44,000 years and is believed to be one of the possibilities for where the horse was first domesticated. Ukraine gained its independence in the early 1990’s with the dissolving of the Soviet Union. Since then it has gone through a few revolutions as it currently is. It has fertile land and has been providing the world with grains for a long time. The official language is Ukrainian and its alphabet is Cyrillic. Russian is also widely spoken there. The dominant religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity which has influenced its art, literature and music.
Textile arts play an important role in Ukraine. Ukrainian embroidery, weaving and lace-making are used in their traditional folk dress. The style of the embroidery: stitch length, motif and color choices vary by region. In the village of Kropove, weaving on a hand loom is still practiced and they are hoping to preserve the tradition by opening a weaving center that will continue to teach the art as well as offer a museum. (Source: Wikipedia)
We found several books dealing with religious holidays in Ukraine. At Easter, Ukraine is famous for its pysanky or painted Easter eggs. At Christmas there are many versions of a tale involving a spider. As such spider ornaments and spiderweb ornaments are hung on their trees. All the crafts in the books we found had to do with pysanky or spiders.
We also found some non-religious stories to learn more about the culture, including the popular Ukrainian folktale, The Mitten.
In Magic Egg and Other Tales from Ukraine retold by Barbara J. Suwyn, there are some versions of classic fairy tales like Cinderella and the Frog Princess as well as other stories of which I had not heard. Throughout the tales religion often played an important role.
We also found some non-fiction stories. There are several books about Oksana Baiul, a famous Ukrainian figure skater as well as many books about the Chernobyl Disaster. There are also some about the Holocaust. We did not read any of these books since they were all above my five-year-old’s comprehension level. However they are wonderful resources for families with older children.
The traditional Ukrainian diet includes chicken, pork, beef, fish and mushrooms. They also eat many grains, potatoes and fresh vegetables. Ukrainian specialties include Chicken Kiev and Kiev Cake. They drink stewed fruit, juices, buttermilk, milk, mineral water, tea, coffee, beer, wine and horilka (a Ukrainian whiskey). (Source) Now it is time to explore Ukraine with different recipes. Join us on our blog hop to see all the wonderful Ukrainian recipes, crafts and more shared and feel free to share your own. We also have the wonderful Ukraine placemat and passport pages (and of course our passport cover) coming soon to download for free to help teach your children about Ukraine.
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