Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Slovakia

Image - Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Svydnyk, Slovakia.

Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Slovakia (formerly: in Czechoslovakia) [Фестиваль української культури в Словаччині; Festyval ukrainskoi kultury v Slovachchyni]. An annual three-day folk-art festival organized in late June by the Cultural Association of Ukrainian Workers (KSUT; since 1990, the Union of Ruthenian-Ukrainians of Czechoslovakia [now: Slovak Republic]) and other institutions and organizations in Slovakia. Known as the Festival of Song and Dance until 1977, it was held in 1955 in Medzilaborce and has been held since then in Svydnyk. The festival is usually attended by 20,000 to 40,000 people, who watch 40 to 60 independent folklore ensembles (1,500–2,500 performances). Besides the local Ukrainian ensembles and folklore groups an ensemble from each of the other nationalities in Czechoslovakia (Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and Polish) and groups from neighboring countries (Poland, Hungary, and Ukraine) have participated in the festival. The Duklia Ukrainian Folk Ensemble from Prešov appears every year, and the Transcarpathian Folk Chorus from Uzhhorod is a frequent guest. The main festival is preceded by regional song and dance festivals in 12 localities inhabited by Ukrainians in the Prešov region.

In recent years the festival has consisted of eight distinct programs: choral ensembles, contemporary vocal and instrumental groups, children's collectives, folk groups, visiting ensembles, anniversary collectives, authentic folk art (in the setting of the Svydnyk Museum of Ukrainian Culture), and the final gala performances. Virtually all the programs are broadcast live or are recorded for radio, and an hour or two of the gala performance is televised.

Thematic exhibits at the Svydnyk Museum of Ukrainian Culture, talks with veterans of the struggle for national liberation, and a performance by the winner of the Dukhnovych Festival of Ukrainian Drama have been integral parts of the cultural festival.

Mykola Mushynka

[This article was updated in 2014.]

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