IEU'S FEATURED TOPICS CONCERNING THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE AND UKRAINIANS ABROAD



I. Ukrainians and the Ukrainian Language
II. From Nobles to Peasants: Historical Estates of Ukrainian Society
III. The Ukrainian Folklore: Folk Songs and Folk Oral Literature
IV. Ukrainian Folk Customs and Rites
V. Ukrainian Traditional Folk Beliefs, Mythology, and Demonology
VI. Ukrainians and their Christmas and Easter Traditions
VII. Traditional Handicrafts of the Ukrainian People
VIII. The Ukrainian Highlanders: Hutsuls, Boikos, and Lemkos
IX. The Crimean Tatars and Other Turkic-speaking Peoples of Ukraine
X. The History of Ukrainians in Poland
XI. Ukrainians in Canada (Part 1): The Prairie Provinces



Go To Top Of Page  UKRAINIANS AND THE UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE

The oldest recorded names used for the Ukrainians are Rusyny, Rusychi, and Rusy (from Rus'). In the 10th to 12th centuries those names applied only to the Slavic inhabitants of what is today the national and ethnic territory of Ukraine, but later a similar designation was adopted by the proto-Russian inhabitants of the northeastern principalities of Kyivan Rus'. The modern name Ukraintsi (Ukrainians) is derived from Ukraina (Ukraine), a name first documented in 1187. Until the 19th century the Ukrainians, with few exceptions, lived on their aboriginal lands. In the last few decades of the 19th century Ukrainians under Russian rule began a massive emigration to the Asian regions of the empire, and their counterparts under Austro-Hungarian rule emigrated to the New World. Today approximately one-quarter of all Ukrainians in the world live outside of Ukraine. Geographically, the Ukrainian language is classified with Russian and Belarusian as an East Slavic language. Actually, like Slovak, it occupies a central position: it borders on some West Slavic languages, and it once bordered on Bulgarian, a South Slavic language... Learn more about the ethnocultural features of Ukrainians and the history and unique features of the Ukrainian language by visiting the following entries:



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UKRAINIANS. The East Slavic nation constituting the native population of Ukraine; the sixth-largest nation in Europe. According to the concept of nationality dominant in Eastern Europe the Ukrainians are people whose native language is Ukrainian whether or not they are nationally conscious, and all those who identify themselves as Ukrainian whether or not they speak Ukrainian. Attempts to introduce a territorial-political concept of Ukrainian nationality on the Western European model have been unsuccessful until the 1990s. Because territorial loyalty has also been manifested by the historical national minorities living in Ukraine, the accepted view in Ukraine today is that all permanent inhabitants of Ukraine are its citizens (ie, Ukrainians) regardless of their ethnic origins or the language in which they communicate. The official declaration of Ukrainian sovereignty of 16 July 1990 stated that 'citizens of the Republic of all nationalities constitute the people (narod) of Ukraine'...

Ukrainians



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UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE. The second most widely spoken language of the 12 surviving members of the Slavic group of the large Indo-European language family. Today Ukrainian borders on Russian in the east and northeast, on Belarusian in the north, and on Polish, Slovak, and two non-Slavic languages--Hungarian and Rumanian--in the west. Before the steppes of southern Ukraine were resettled by the Ukrainians, this was an area of contact with various Turkic languages, such as Crimean Tatar. Within its geographic boundaries the Ukrainian language is represented basically by a set of dialects, some of which differ significantly from the others. Generally, however, dialectal divisions in Ukrainian are not as strong as they are, for example, in British English or in German...

Ukrainian language



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STANDARD UKRAINIAN. The standard, or literary, version of the Ukrainian language evolved through three distinct periods: old (10th-13th centuries), middle (14th-18th centuries), and modern (19th-20th centuries). The cardinal changes that occurred were conditioned by changes in the political and cultural history of Ukraine. In the 19th century Ukrainian Romantic writers raised the possibility of a serious, full-fledged literature based on the vernacular, and the southeastern dialectal base of modern Standard Ukrainian became established. Taras Shevchenko first met the challenge of forging a synthetic, pan-Ukrainian literary language encompassing both the historical (eg, the use of archaisms and Church Slavonicisms) and the geographical dimension (the use of accessible dialects). The new literary Ukrainian began to be used in scholarship and publicism in the early 1860s...

Standard Ukrainian



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CYRILLIC ALPHABET (kyrylytsia). Slavic system based on the Greek majuscule script. When, after their expulsion from Moravia in 885, the disciples of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius settled in Bulgaria, they had recourse to the Greek alphabet as a replacement for the Glagolitic alphabet developed by Saint Cyril. The Greek alphabet was adapted to Slavic and supplemented by letters from the Glagolitic that rendered phonemes lacking in the Greek language. The original Cyrillic alphabet had 36 to 38 letters, some of which were used only, or primarily, in the writing of Greek words. With the expansion of eastern Christianity, the Cyrillic alphabet spread from Bulgaria to other Slavic lands. The Cyrillic alphabet (with certain modifications) is still used today in the Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Serbian writing systems...

Cyrillic alphabet



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DIALECTS. Ukrainian dialects are classified into two basic groups--the northern (Polisian) and the southern dialects--between which there extends a wide belt of 'transitional' dialects. The northern dialectal group is subdivided into the east Polisian (east of the Dnieper River), the central Polisian (between the Dnieper and the Horyn River), the west Polisian (between the Horyn and the Buh River and Lisna River), and the Podlachian dialects. The southern group of dialects is divided into two subgroups: the more uniform southeastern dialects (central Dnieper dialects, Slobidska Ukraine dialects, and steppe dialects) and the southwestern dialects, which are highly differentiated and include South Volhynian dialects, Podilian dialects, Dniester dialects, Sian dialects, Bukovyna-Pokutia dialects, Hutsul dialect, Boiko dialect, Middle-Transcarpathian dialects, and Lemko dialects....

Dialects



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries about Ukrainians and the Ukrainian language were made possible by a generous donation from Professor JOSEPH A. KARNAS of Toronto, ON, Canada, in memory of his mother KSENA (SADIE) KARNAS (nee SZILIWSKI).



Go To Top Of Page  II. FROM NOBLES TO PEASANTS: HISTORICAL ESTATES OF UKRAINIAN SOCIETY

Having originated in the medieval period, the historical estates of Ukrainian society survived in various forms until the mid-19th century. Each of these autonomous and closed social groups enjoyed certain rights or privileges and fulfilled various duties. Membership in a given estate was hereditary, and mobility from one estate to another was difficult. Only the admission to the clerical estate, which was purely functional, was open. The principal estates were the aristocracy (nobility), the clergy, the burghers, and the peasantry. The estate system on Ukrainian territories (most clearly defined in the Lithuanian-Ruthenian state of the 13th to 16th centuries) was radically changed in the mid 17th century as a result of the Cossack-Polish War led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The Cossacks, who arose out of peasant warriors, became a new social force that, on the one hand, liberated itself from various economic, political, and religious restrictions and, on the other, strove to consolidate its economic and political gains by forming a new estate. In the 19th century, the peasants played a major role in the regeneration of the Ukrainian nation, when the Ukrainian literary language was reconstructed on the basis of the peasant vernacular, and the traditions of village life were mined for the components of a national culture... Learn more about the historical estates of Ukrainian society by visiting the following entries:



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NOBILITY. The privileged and titled elite class of society. The concept of a noble class is largely a European one that developed out of the feudal experience. In Eastern Europe the nobility as a social elite with inherent rights established itself most strongly in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Ukraine, after the Princely era, the existence of a distinctive elite class of native nobles was largely pre-empted by the country's domination first by Poland and then by the Russian Empire (which prompted the considerable assimilation of Ukraine's upper class by foreign aristocracies). The notable exceptions to that long-standing state of affairs could be found in the Lithuanian-Ruthenian state, where Orthodox Ukrainian nobles constituted a distinctive subgroup of the aristocracy, and in the Hetman state, where the Cossack starshyna was developing into a noble class. Regardless of the nobility's assimilation, individual noblemen emerged at various times as key figures in the defence of Ukrainian social, religious, and political rights...

Nobility



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COSSACKS. Because of the conjunction of certain geographic and social conditions, a special social group--the Ukrainian Cossacks--arose in Ukraine as an attempt of the Ukrainian population to liberate itself from under the control of the nobility. The Cossack-peasant rebellions are a manifestation of the conflict between the two models of the estate system--the Polish nobility model and the Ukrainian Cossack model. The name Cossack (Ukrainian: kozak) is derived from the Turkic kazak (free man). By the end of the 15th century this name was applied to those Ukrainians who went into the steppes to practice various trades and engage in hunting, fishing, beekeeping, and so on. The history of the Ukrainian Cossacks has three distinct aspects: their struggle against the Tatars and the Turks in the steppe and on the Black Sea; their participation in the struggle of the Ukrainian people against socioeconomic and national-religious oppression by the Polish magnates; and their role in the building of an autonomous Ukrainian state...

Cossacks



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CLERGY. From earliest times in the Christian church the clergy has constituted a group sharply differentiated from the laity by being initiated into the service of God through the sacrament of ordination (laying on of hands). In the Ukrainian Orthodox church and the Ukrainian Catholic church, the clergy is divided into the lower (deacons, priests) and higher (the hierarchy or episcopate) clergy and into the secular (white) and regular (black) clergy. The secular clergy lives 'in the world,' among the people, and fulfils its spiritual functions among them in their religious communities. The regular clergy, having renounced the world, lives in monasteries and devotes itself to prayer (the contemplative orders) or to prayer and works of Christian charity (schools, shelters, hospitals, and the like); it rarely has charge of parishes. The Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic secular clergy (but not the hierarchy), in accordance with the canons of the Eastern church, have the right to marry, which the Latin clergy has not had since the 4th century...

Clergy



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BURGHERS. In the broad sense of the term, urban dwellers employed in various skilled trades, industries, and commerce, as well as town and suburban residents employed in farming, gardening, fruit growing, etc. In the narrow sense, which is particularly applicable to Ukraine, burghers were a social stratum that used to be self-governing and then became 'tax-paying estate' of the Russian Empire in the 19th and 20th centuries. In Kyivan Rus' the burghers were not legally defined, even though they constituted a socially and economically distinct stratum. The elite upper-stratum were prominent men, city elders, and wealthy merchants; in the middle were the merchants; beneath them were the commoners. At the bottom were dependents of various kinds--servants, slaves, exiles, etc. The burghers became a separate stratum in the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia at the end of the 13th century, and particularly under Polish- Lithuanian rule, when Magdeburg law was granted to many cities and towns throughout Ukraine...

Burghers



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PEASANTS. The peasants of Kyivan Rus' arose in conjunction with the new state system that replaced the disintegrating ancestral social structure of the Slavic tribes. The peasants of Rus' were grouped in relatively autonomous settlements, where they worked together to cultivate land using slash-and-burn techniques. The vast majority of peasants fell into the category of smerds. The smerds were of two types, either entirely free or dependent. The free peasants formed the largest group and enjoyed the rights of free persons. The dependent smerds, whose numbers grew with princely gifts of land to servitors, lived on princely and boyar lands, paying rents primarily in kind, but money and labor rents were also known. After the Mongol invasion (1240) and the passage of Ukrainian lands under Polish and Lithuanian rule (mid-14th century) the peasants' rights were further restricted and their rents increased, until they lost their personal freedom and became serfs wholly dependent on the landowners...

Peasants



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries about the historical estates of Ukrainian society were made possible by the financial support of the STEPHEN AND OLGA PAWLUK UKRAINIAN STUDIES ENDOWMENT FUND at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Edmonton, AB, Canada).



Go To Top Of Page  III. THE UKRAINIAN FOLKLORE: FOLK SONGS AND FOLK ORAL LITERATURE

Ukrainian folk oral literature, poetry, and songs (such as the dumas) are among the most disctinctive ethnocultural features of Ukrainians as a people. The particularly vital role of folklore in the formation of modern Ukrainian culture and national consciousness was the result of an unusually important role that peasantry played in the history of Ukraine. Not only did peasants make up the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian population until the 1930s, but they also contributed much to the preservation and development of the Ukrainian language and traditional way of life. Their conservative attitude toward traditions, language, and faith--in short, their fostering of national and ethnic characteristics, some of which extend back to pre-Christian times and even to Indo-European roots--was of great importance for the Ukrainian nation, which had been subdued by powerful neighbors and, particularly in the case of the upper classes and the urban strata, exposed to assimilatory influences. In the 19th century, folk songs and folk oral literature not only served as the basis for the reconstruction of the Ukrainian literary language, but also provided Ukrainian writers, composers, and intellectuals with the components for the creation of a modern national culture... Learn more about Ukrainian folk songs and folk oral literature by visiting the following entries:



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FOLKLORE. In Ukrainian folklore scholarship there is an overwhelming tendency to equate folklore with folk oral literature. In this discipline folk tales (tales of magic, animal tales, legends, anecdotes, etc), folk songs (ritual songs and non-ritual songs), and items of the minor verbal genres (proverbs and riddles) are collected and studied. Some of the above (animal tales, some songs and games, and certain types of proverbs and riddles) are children's folklore. Oral literature consists of variant texts whose authorship is unknown, the texts being passed along by word of mouth and in the process changed to some degree by each performer. Pre-Christian Ukrainian folk customs and rites were described in Arabic and Byzantine sources. Other documentation of Ukrainian folklore is found in the earliest of literary monuments in Ukraine (ie, the chronicles and Slovo o polku Ihorevi), where instances of folk prose, proverbs, and ritual songs can be found. Christianity introduced into Ukraine not only dogma but also apocryphal and classical folklore traditions...

Folklore



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FOLK ORAL LITERATURE. The sum of oral works, both poetry and prose, which are produced usually by anonymous authors and are preserved in the people's memory for a long time by being passed on orally from generation to generation. Ukrainian folk oral literature has its distinctive artistic qualities, its unique poetic devices--metaphors, similes, epithets, and symbolism. The poetic folk literature consists mostly of folk songs, which are subdivided into various genres: ritual songs (songs associated with spring rituals, including vesnianky-hahilky, carols, Kupalo festival songs, harvest songs, wedding songs and funeral songs), historical songs and dumas, lyrical songs and dance songs. Folk prose can be divided into fables, fairy tales, stories, legends, and anecdotes. Poetic-prose folk literature consists of spells, proverbs, sayings, and riddles. In the 19th century the works of folk oral literature were held to be the products of a collective popular mind. Contemporary folklorists favor the theory that individuals are the creators of the oral tradition...

Folk oral literature



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FOLK SONGS. The song is one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of folklore. It unites a poetic text with a melody. Songs usually have a well-defined strophic structure: all stanzas are set to the same melody as the first stanza. Each stanza is often followed by a refrain. Folk songs are usually monodic choral songs, but Ukrainian folk songs are exceptional for their rich polyphony. The folk songs express the common experience of the Ukrainian people: all the important events in life from the cradle to the grave are accompanied by song. By their content and function folk songs can be divided into four basic groups: (1) ritual songs, such as carols (koliadky and shchedrivky), spring songs, songs about nymphs, and Kupalo festival songs; (2) harvest songs and wedding songs; (3) historical songs and political songs, such as dumas and ballads; and (4) lyrical songs, such as family songs, social class songs, and love songs. Chumak songs, recruits' and soldiers' songs, wanderers' songs, and cradle songs belong to separate groups...

Folk songs



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HISTORICAL SONGS. A genre of folk songs that presents historical events and individuals in a generalized, artistic manner with details, names, and facts that may be inaccurate. Ukrainian historical songs appeared at the same time as the dumas, and perhaps even preceded them. They differ from the dumas in that they describe concrete historical events and figures; their story line is less developed, their emotive range is greater, and in them the lyrical element prevails over the epic element. The oldest cycle of historical songs dates back to the 16th century and depicts the Cossacks' struggle against the Tatars and Turks; the best known are the songs about Baida Vyshnevetsky of 1564 and the siege of the Pochaiv Monastery of 1675. A second cycle consists of songs about the Cossacks' struggle against Poland. A third cycle deals with Russian oppression and includes songs about construction work on the Saint Petersburg canals, the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich, and the death of a Cossack in Russian captivity...

Historical songs



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RITUAL SONGS (obriadovi pisni). Folk songs that accompanied important changes in a person's life and the seasonal cycles in farming. Calendric ritual folk songs include carols or koliadky and shchedrivky (on Christmas and Epiphany), Shrovetide songs, vesnianky-hahilky and ryndzivky (on Easter), tsarynni and rusalka songs (on the Rosalia), Saint Peter's day songs, haymowers' and rakers' songs, Kupalo festival songs, harvest songs, vechernytsi songs, and songs to Saint Nicholas. The ritual songs of family life include christening songs, wedding songs, and funeral hymns and laments. At one time ritual songs were believed to possess magical powers: they could ensure a bountiful harvest and the well-being of the persons mentioned in them. Eventually they lost their magical meaning and were regarded simply as entertaining or expressive. All ritual songs contain some ancient pagan elements mixed with more recent, mostly Christian, elements. The majority of them are tied to ritual acts, games, dances, and folk customs...

Ritual songs



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries dealing with Ukrainian folk songs and folk oral literature were made possible by a generous donation from ARKADI MULAK-YATSKIVSKY of Los Angeles, CA, USA.



Go To Top Of Page  IV. UKRAINIAN FOLK CUSTOMS AND RITES

The Ukrainian folk culture displays a particularly rich array of customs, ritual actions, and verbal formulas belonging to the traditions of familial, tribal, and folk life and connected with the changing seasons and the resulting changes in agricultural work. These customs and rites are regulated by the folk calendar and are often accompanied by magical acts, religious ceremonies, incantations, songs, dances, and dramatic plays. They arose in prehistoric times and evolved through the centuries of Ukrainian history, blending in many cases with Christian rites. With the spread of modern civilization and urban culture, the folk customs and rites in Ukraine have been greatly transformed. Soviet efforts to eradicate them have not succeeded. In 1970s and 1980s an increasingly persistent effort was made to revive folk rites, particularly in the family and communal sphere. Believers continued to practice the folk customs and rites of the Christian calendar, particularly those of Christmas and Easter, but the country people were turning to ancient folk customs and rites such as New Year's rites and its special carols (shchedrivky); spring rituals and songs (vesnianky-hahilky); the procession of nymphs (mavkas) and Kupalo festival, which are associated with harvest celebrations (obzhynky); wedding rites, with their ritualized dramas; celebrations of birth, involving godparents and christening linen; and farewells to army or labor recruits. These customs and rites, like the Christianized customs and rites, are steeped in tradition and are tied to ancient ancestral beliefs, symbols, and images... Learn more about the Ukrainian folk customs and rites by visiting the following entries:




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FOLK CUSTOMS CONNECTED WITH BIRTH. Such customs have survived since ancient times. When a child was born, a ritual nativity banquet was held. The church tried to suppress these feasts for many centuries, but they have survived with all the old folk rituals. When labor began, the husband summoned a midwife. On entering the patient's house, the midwife bowed 30 times and performed an introductory ritual while uttering her prayers. A godfather (kum) and godmother (kuma) were invited for the baptism. The newborn infant was carefully protected from all kinds of evil by being kept behind a veil, out of sight not only of strangers but even of family members. The baptism was a ritual salvation of the infant from the forces of evil. Forty days after birth the mother submitted to a cleansing ritual, and the child was admitted to the church: the mother brought the infant to church and waited in the women's vestibule until after the cleansing prayers were read over her. A year or more after birth the child underwent a ritual haircutting. All the customs surrounding birth originated in pre-Christian times but were assimilated by the church...

Folk Customs Connected with Birth



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SPRING RITUALS. Traditional folk rituals practiced in the spring, from the equinox (20-21 March) to the summer solstice (21-22 June). Originally these rituals were believed to possess magical powers that ensured a bountiful harvest and fertility in domestic animals. The ritual cycle began with the rite of provody (bidding winter farewell and welcoming spring), just before the beginning of Lent. Winter was usually personified by minor deities (Kostrub, Morena, Smertka, or Masliana) effigies of which were burned or drowned ceremonially. Spring was personified by a young girl crowned with a wreath and holding a green branch in her hand. She was the central figure in the ritual games, dances, and songs (vesnianky-hahilky). The arrival of migratory birds signaled the beginning of the spring festival called Stricha (from 'greeting'). On the Feast of the 40 Martyrs (22 March) bird-shaped buns called zhaivoronky (larks) were baked and tossed into the air by children and told to bring spring with them. The largest number of agrarian rituals was designated for the Lenten period and Easter, including the ritual first sowing, the first release of livestock to pasture, and the decorating of fields and farmhouses with green branches (Rosalia)...

Spring Rituals



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KUPALO FESTIVAL. A Slavic celebration of ancient pagan origin marking the end of the summer solstice and the beginning of the harvest (midsummer). In Christian times, the church tried to suppress the tradition, substituting it with the feast day of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (24 June), but it remained firmly part of folk ritual as the festival of Ivan Kupalo. Kupalo was believed to be the god of love and of the harvest and the personification of the earth's fertility. According to popular belief, 'Kupalo eve' was the only time of the year when the earth revealed its secrets and made ferns bloom to mark places where its treasures were buried, and the only time when trees spoke and even moved and when witches gathered. It was also the only time of the year when free love received popular sanction. On the eve unmarried young men and women gathered outside the village in the forest or near a stream or pond. There they built 'Kupalo fires'--a relic of the pagan custom of bringing sacrifice--around which they performed ritual dances and sang ritual songs, often erotic. They leaped over the fires, bathed in the water (an act of purification), and played physical games with obviously sexual connotations...

Kupalo Festival



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WEDDING. In Ukraine the traditional wedding was a well-planned ritual drama, in which the leading roles were played by the bride and bridegroom, called princess and prince, and the other clearly defined roles (matchmaker, groomsman, bridesmaids) by the couple's parents, relatives, and friends. The wedding combined the basic forms of folk art--the spoken word, song, dance, music, and visual art--into a harmonious whole. It was reminiscent of an ancient theatrical drama with chorus, whose spectators were also actors. The rituals date back to pre-Christian times (traces of matriarchy, the abduction of the bride) and were influenced extensively by medieval practices (ransoming the bride, simulating a military campaign, the fighting between two camps, addressing the guests as princes and boyars, and the church ceremony). The ceremony included traces of ancient customs, which had lost their original, mainly magical, significance and had become mere play. Gradually the church ceremony assumed the central role in the wedding. The traditional Ukrainian wedding usually took place in the early spring or the autumn and lasted several days...

Wedding



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HARVEST RITUALS. Folk rituals dating back to ancient times and marking the opening and closing of the harvest period. These ceremonies were characterized by a sequence of magical rituals that interacted with natural processes and phenomena. The spiritualization of nature was at the essence of these rites, which could influence critically the fate of the harvest. Zazhynky marked the commencement of harvesting and took place at the end of June or the beginning of July. In the morning, all the reapers went into the fields together. The master or village elder took off his hat, turned to the sun, and uttered a special incantation requesting the fields to surrender their harvest and to give the reapers sufficient strength with which to gather it in. Then, the mistress or a woman reputed to be lucky cut the first sheaf of grain, which was called voievoda. In the evening, the voievoda sheaf was brought to the master's house and was placed in the icon corner where it was to stand until the end of the harvesting. Obzhynky marked the end of the harvesting, usually at the end of July or the beginning of August, and was associated with an array of customs and rituals...

Harvest Rituals



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BURIAL RITES. The ancient burial rites of the Ukrainian people were based on various folk customs and beliefs. The body of the deceased was washed, dressed, and placed on a bench under a window, with the head towards icons and the feet towards the door. As long as the deceased remained in the house, all work ceased, except that required for the funeral. The house was not swept during the funeral proceedings. The body was carried to the grave feet first, and the mourners followed, to prevent the deceased from 'seeing' them. The coffin was knocked against the threshold three times so that the deceased might bid farewell to his or her home and not return. Kolyvo--cooked wheat or barley covered with honey--was carried in front of the coffin in the funeral procession and was always the first course of the funeral meal. The ritual was accompanied by wailing and lamentation. Following the requiem, the 'final embrace,' a formal leave-taking of the deceased, took place, after which the coffin was lowered into the grave, in a position so that the deceased faced the sunrise. Those people who were directly involved in the burial purified themselves by washing their hands and touching the stove before sitting down to dinner...

Burial Rites



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries about Ukrainian folk customs and rituals were made possible by the financial support of the PETER SALYGA ENDOWMENT FUND at the CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF UKRAINIAN STUDIES (Edmonton, AB, Canada).



Go To Top Of Page  V. UKRAINIAN TRADITIONAL FOLK BELIEFS, MYTHOLOGY, AND DEMONOLOGY

According to the earliest historical record of pre-Christian religious beliefs in Ukrainian territory (from 6th-century AD), the proto-Ukrainian tribes were monotheist. They believed in a god of lightning and thunder and sacrificed cattle and other animals to him. Through millennia of progressive development, a complex system of Ukrainian mythology, demonology, and folk beliefs developed that encompassed almost all events and objects of the external world, as they were seen to influence collective and individual destiny. The institution of Christianity did not completely destroy these traditional beliefs. Instead, mythological elements were combined with elements of Christianity, creating a 'dual faith.' The 'lower' mythology (that was older in origin than the pagan belief in 'higher' gods), involving ancestral-clan images and an animistic world view that populates nature with spirits, proved stable and survived until recent times. Learn more about Ukrainian traditional folk beliefs, mythology, and demonology by visiting the following entries:



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FOLK BELIEFS. A fundamentally religious interpretation of the world that determines the conduct and the attitude of the common people towards the forces of nature and the events of ordinary life. These beliefs are passed on by tradition or spring from an animistic view of natural phenomena, spiritual life (eg, the souls of the dead), and inanimate objects, or from such psychic experiences as illusions, hallucinations, and dreams. Ukrainian folk beliefs encompass almost all events and objects of the external world, which are held to have a determining influence on individual destiny. There is a rich body of beliefs connected with the sun, moon, and stars. There are many different beliefs about atmospheric phenomena and about the actions of fire, water, earth, stones, plants, animals, and birds as well as man-made objects...

Folk beliefs



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MYTHOLOGY. A body of myths or stories dealing with the gods, demigods, and heroes of a given people. The earliest historical record of pre-Christian religious beliefs in Ukrainian territory belongs to the 6th-century Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea. According to him the Sclaveni and Antes were monotheist. They believed in a god of lightning and thunder and sacrificed cattle and other animals to him. Mykhailo Hrushevsky and other scholars assumed it was Svaroh. These peoples also venerated rivers, water nymphs, and other spirits, offered sacrifices to them, and foretold the future from the offerings. Two periods are distinguished in the evolution of eastern Slavic mythology: an earlier one, marked by Svaroh's supremacy, and a later one, dominated by Perun...

Mythology



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DEMONOLOGY IN UKRAINE. With the institution of Christianity in Ukraine and the official proscription of paganism at the end of the 10th century, elements of the unified pagan religion disappeared rapidly, and the names of the 'higher' gods (Perun, Dazhboh, Veles, Stryboh, Khors, and others) were preserved only in literature. The 'lower' mythology proved much more stable, however, and survived until recent times. This 'lower' mythology, involving ancestral-clan images and an animistic world view that populates nature with spirits, was older in origin than the pagan belief in 'higher' gods. The institution of Christianity did not completely destroy the belief in the 'lower' mythology. Instead, mythological elements were combined with elements of Christianity, creating a 'dual faith'...

Demonology



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MAGIC. A set system of notions, rituals, and invocations that are believed to have a mysterious mystical power to influence physical phenomena or natural events. Magic played an important role in the life of Ukrainians, particularly the peasantry. Not a step could be taken without it. It was used widely in medicine: shamans used spells and charms, often combined with rational practices, employing medicinal plants or psychotherapy. Water, fire, and eggs were held in the highest esteem by Ukrainian sorcerers. Magic was also an important part of calendric folk rituals tied to farming (sowing, harvesting, taking livestock to pasture) and family life (birth, wedding, and death)...

Magic



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries dedicated to Ukrainian traditional folk beliefs, mythology, and demonology were made possible by a generous donation of the CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR UKRAINIAN STUDIES.



Go To Top Of Page  VI. UKRAINIAN CHRISTMAS AND EASTER TRADITIONS

Ukrainian Christmas and Easter traditions are among the richest and most elaborate in the world. Some of their particular aspects (such as richly ornamental Ukrainian Easter eggs) have been well know outside of Ukraine for centuries. Some specific elements of these traditions were adopted in the West to such a degree that they are now considered to have become integral parts of Western European and North American cultures. For example, Mykola Leontovych's famous Christmas carol Shchedryk, known in the West as 'The Carol of the Bells,' has experienced over 150 transmutations in re-arrangements for differing vocal and instrumental combinations, and its symphonic versions have been performed by world's best orchestras conducted by such masters as E. Ormandy, L. Bernstein, and A. Kostelanetz. Learn more about the Ukrainian people's Christmas and Easter traditions by visiting the following entries:



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CHRISTMAS (Rizdvo). The feast of Christ's birth was at first celebrated in the East on 6 January, together with the feast of Epiphany. Later, in the mid-4th century, it was established by the Roman Catholic church as a separate feast and was celebrated on 25 December according to the Julian calendar. With the introduction of Christianity into Ukraine in the 10th century Christmas was fused with the local pagan celebrations of the sun's return or the commencement of the agricultural year. In some areas the pre-Christian name of the feast-Koliada-has been preserved. The most interesting part of Ukrainian Christmas is Christmas Eve (Sviat-Vechir) with its wealth of ritual and magical acts aimed at ensuring a good harvest and a life of plenty...

Christmas



Kyiv Chamber Choir

CAROLS. The custom of caroling is highly developed and widely practiced in Ukraine. There are two kinds of carols: koliadky and shchedrivky. The koliadky are festive, ritual songs sung at Christmas time, while the shchedrivky are sung on New Year's Eve. Both types of carol have retained traces of their ancient origin, particularly to the cult of the sun, of the ancestor worship, of nature worship, and of the faith in the magical power of words. The koliadky and shchedrivky depict scenes from farm life and express the desire for good harvests, prosperity, good fortune, and health. They are remarkable for their wealth of subject matter and motifs, which vary with the person who is addressed and praised in each carol...

Carols



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EASTER. The feast of Christ's resurrection, which in its observance combines both pagan and Christian elements. It was celebrated at different times by different churches, often at the same time as the Jewish Passover. In 325, the Council of Nicea decided that Easter must be observed everywhere on the same Sunday-the first after the full moon following the vernal equinox-and that whenever the full moon fell on a Sunday, Easter would be postponed for a week to avoid coinciding with Passover. The Orthodox church and Eastern-rite Catholic church adhere to the Julian calendar and a different 'paschal moon' and so celebrate Easter on a different Sunday. In Ukraine Easter has been celebrated over a long period of history and has had many rich folk traditions that are no longer fully preserved...

Easter



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EASTER EGG or pysanka. Pysanka painting is a widely practiced form of decorative art in Ukraine. The practice originated in the prehistoric Trypilian culture. Ukrainian pysanky have a symbolic significance. They symbolize spring, renewed life, and resurrection and have thus become associated with the celebration of Easter. Today pysanky are also appreciated as works of art...

Easter egg



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries dedicated to the Ukrainian Christmas and Easter traditions were made possible by a generous donation from the UKRAINIAN SELFRELIANCE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION (Philadelphia, PA, USA).



Go To Top Of Page  VII. TRADITIONAL HANDICRAFTS OF THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE

Crafts and small-scale manufacture of common articles of daily use, farm implements, clothing, home furnishings, and, in past centuries, arms as well were widely practiced in Ukraine from the earliest times. Crafts were highly developed in the ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast. At the beginning of the 1st millennium AD crafts began to be separated from farming and specialized, and there were two basic branches of craft manufacture--iron making and pottery. In the Princely era the urban crafts differed from the rural crafts in their more complex production process and the higher quality of their product. In the large cities there were close to 60 distinct crafts: specialized branches of metallurgy, blacksmithing, arms manufacturing, pottery, carpentry, weaving, linen and wool cloth making, and others. Crafts specializing in ornamental products such as clothes, church and palace decorations, icons, and jewelry were highly developed. The Mongol invasions caused the crafts to decline. The earliest revival of the crafts occurred in the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia, where in the second half of the 14th century and the first half of the 15th century guilds appeared in the cities and towns governed by Magdeburg law. The largest crafts center was Lviv, where by the second half of the 15th century there were already over 50 crafts and by the first half of the 17th century, 133 crafts. At the same time traditional folk handicrafts developed in village communities... Learn more about the traditional handicrafts of the Ukrainian people by visiting the following entries:




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CRAFTS. With the decline of the barter economy crafts became separated from home manufacture, which served the needs of the producer and his/her neighbors, and became increasingly specialized. Crafts production was concentrated mostly in the cities and towns in the form of small enterprises. Usually products were made to order; sometimes they were made for the market. There was hardly any division of labor in the craft shops, except for partial help from family members, journeymen, or apprentices. The craftsman was the owner of the shop and the means of production. Alone or with a journeyman he was an independent producer capable of manufacturing the product from beginning to end. His craft was his basic occupation and means of livelihood. At the peak of their development the craftsmen formed a relatively closed social group of the burgher estate with a distinct way of life and civil status and special rights and duties. In these respects crafts differ from cottage industries, which are usually only supplementary occupations undertaken, for example, during a season free of farm work...

Crafts



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CERAMICS and Pottery. Objects made of natural clays or clays mixed with mineral additives and fired to a hardened state. The ceramics made on the territory of Ukraine from the earliest times to the present reveal a highly developed artistic and technical culture, originality, and creativity. The development of ceramics has been facilitated by the existence of large deposits of various clays, particularly kaolin (china clay). The history of Ukrainian ceramics begins in the Neolithic Period, with the ceramics of the Trypilian culture. Their high technical and artistic level equals that seen in artifacts of the Aegean culture. The development of Ukrainian ceramics was also influenced by the ceramics of the Hellenic colonies on the Black Sea coast, beginning in the 8th and 7th century BC. Ceramics of the so-called Slavic era, which began in the 2nd century AD, were more modest, and only in the Princely era (9th-13th century) did the production of ceramics achieve a high technical level and a variety of artistic forms, while growing into a large industry...

Ceramics



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WEAVING. Weaving has been practiced in Ukraine for many centuries. Using flax, hemp, or woolen thread, weavers have produced various articles of folk dress, towels, kilims, blankets, tablecloths, sheets, and covers. The colors, ornamentation, and even the techniques of weaving varied from region to region. By the 14th century weaving had developed into a cottage industry. Weavers' guilds modeled on Western European examples were founded in Sambir (1376), Lviv, and elsewhere in Galicia. Later, artistic textiles and kilims were manufactured by small enterprises established by magnates in Brody (1641), Lviv, Nemyriv, Korsun, and other towns. In 17th-century Left-Bank Ukraine the Cossack starshyna established similar enterprises to make decorative furnishings on order for the nobility and churches, using imported silk and gold thread. Eventually such thread was manufactured in Ukraine. Weaving manufactories flourished from the mid-17th to the mid-19th century. The town of Krolevets became one of the largest centers of artistic folk weaving...

Weaving



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EMBROIDERY. Archeological discoveries in Ukraine indicate that embroidery has existed there since prehistoric times. Embroideries are found on drawings and on the oldest pieces of extant cloth (eg, the veil from the Church of the Tithes, destroyed in 1240). Cloth embroidery was first inspired by faith in the power of protective symbols and later by esthetic motives. Symbolic designs were incorporated into the woven cloth by means of a weaving shuttle or a needle. These symbols formed the basis of ornamentation for both cloth and Easter eggs. Under the influence of Byzantine art a new branch of embroidery--church embroidery--was developed in the Middle Ages. In the course of time and under the influence of new artistic styles, folk embroidery and church embroidery became more differentiated. Centers of church embroidery developed in the monasteries, while certain cities became centers for the embroidery trade, which produced cloth for the Cossack starshyna and the nobility. The later artistic styles did not influence folk embroidery as much...

Embroidery



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KILIM WEAVING. The term 'kilim' is of Turkic origin and denotes an ornamented woven fabric used to cover floors or to adorn walls. The earliest references to kilims date back to the chronicles of Kyivan Rus' and link them to burial rites. The princes used kilims also as chair covers. Nothing definite can be said about kilim weaving in Ukraine before the 16th century. The earlier kilims belonging to the ruling class most likely had been imported. Kilim production in Volhynia in the 16th century is well documented. There are many 17th-century references to both locally produced and imported kilims. By the 18th century, kilim weaving was widespread: in Right-Bank Ukraine the mills owned by the Czartoryski and Potocki families, and in Left-Bank Ukraine Col Pavlo Polubotok's mill, were well known. Although kilim weaving may have been taken up by peasants much earlier, in the 18th century it became widespread among them. Monks and town craftsmen also engaged in weaving. The industry grew rapidly at the end of the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th century...

Kilim weaving



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WOOD CARVING. One of the chief branches of the decorative and applied arts in Ukraine. For many centuries the common people carved wooden plates, spoons, bowls, canes, furniture, cards, sleds, gates, beams, and gables and decorated them with designs organically linked with the practical function of those objects. Richly carved crosses and three-armed candlesticks played an important role in family and religious rituals. The carving of iconostases and church objects, which flourished particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, was distinct from the popular form of the art. It was mostly thematic and large-scale, and its ornamentation, unlike folk ornamentation, was mostly floral and done in relief. Very few examples of pre-19th-century carving have survived. In the 19th century the influence of larger market forces was profound: carvers began producing purely decorative objects, and middlemen, who organized the distribution of such objects, began demanding new and alien designs...

Wood carving



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries featuring the traditional Ukrainian handicrafts were made possible by the financial support of the CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR UKRAINIAN STUDIES.



Go To Top Of Page  VIII. THE UKRAINIAN HIGHLANDERS: HUTSULS, BOIKOS, AND LEMKOS

Distinguished by their unique dialects and folklore traditions, the Ukrainian highlanders in the eastern Carpathian Mountains are divided into several ethnographic groups: the Lemkos, in the Low Beskyd and the western part of the Middle Beskyd; the Boikos, up to the Bystrytsia Solotvynska River; and the Hutsuls in the Hutsul region further east. The central part of Transcarpathia is settled by the Zahoriany (tramontanes) or Dolyniany (lowlanders), who are related to the Boikos and speak a central Transcarpathian dialect. The Hutsuls are renouned for their colorful, richly ornamented folk dress and their handicrafts, such as artistic wood carving, ceramics, handmade jewelry, vibrant handwoven textiles, embroidery, and distinctive wooden folk architecture. Engaged primarily in animal husbandry and agriculture, the Boikos have preserved many ancient folk customs and rites that have disappeared in other parts of Ukraine. The Lemkos are a distinct ethnic group within the Ukrainian nation. Their dialects and spiritual and material culture preserved some unique archaic elements that have been lost by other Ukrainians. Almost all Lemkos were resettled from their native territory to the USSR (in 1944-45) and western Poland (in 1947)... Learn more about the Ukrainian highlanders in the Carpatian Mountains by visiting the following entries:



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HUTSULS. An ethnographic group of Ukrainian pastoral highlanders inhabiting the Hutsul region in the Carpathian Mountains. According to one theory, the name hutsul was originally kochul ('nomad,' cf literary Ukrainian kochovyk) and referred to inhabitants of Kyivan Rus' who fled from the Mongol invasion into the Carpathian Mountains. Other scholars believed that the name derives from a subtribe of the Cumans or Pechenegs--the ancient Turkic Utsians or Uzians--who fled from the Mongols. Since the 19th century the most widely accepted view has been that the name comes from the Rumanian word for brigand, hotul/hot. Archeological evidence of human existence in the region dates back 100,000 years. Certain localities (eg, Kosiv) were settled as early as the Neolithic Period (6,000-4,000 BC). The Slavic White Croatians inhabited the region in the first millennium AD; with the rise of Kyivan Rus', they became vassals of the new state. References to salt mines in the region are found in the Galician-Volhynian Chronicle, and the earliest recorded mention of a settlement there (1367) is that of the salt-mining center of Utoropy. Many other Hutsul settlements and monasteries are mentioned in charters and municipal and land documents beginning in the 15th century...

Hutsuls



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HUTSUL REGION (Hutsulshchyna). A region in the southeasternmost part of the Carpathian Mountains of Galicia, Bukovyna, and Transcarpathia (the basins of the upper Prut River, upper Suceava River, upper Bystrytsia Nadvirnianska River, and upper Tysa River valleys), inhabited by Ukrainian highlanders called Hutsuls. Except for eight settlements in Romania, the Hutsul region lies within the present-day borders of the Ukraine. In the southeast the Hutsul region borders on ethnic Romanian lands; in the west, on the region of the Boikos; in the north, on the region of the Subcarpathian Pidhiriany; and in the southwest, on long-cultivated Transcarpathian Ukrainian lands. The region is located in the most elevated and picturesque part of the Ukrainian Carpathians. The gently sloping mountains are densely populated, and the land there is cultivated to a considerable height owing to the moderating climatic influence of the Black Sea and the massiveness of the ranges, which make summers in the region warmer than in other parts of the Carpathians. Highland pastures (polonyny) are widespread, and herding, particularly of sheep, has traditionally been widely practiced...

Hutsul region



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BOIKOS. A tribe or ethnographic group of Ukrainian highlanders who inhabit both slopes of the middle Carpathian Mountains, now in Lviv oblast, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, and Transcarpathia oblast. The name boiko is thought to be derived from the frequent use of the particle boiie by the population. The Boikos are believed to be the descendants of the ancient Slavic tribe of White Croatians that came under the rule of the Kyivan Rus' state during the reign of Grand Prince Volodymyr the Great. Before the Magyars occupied the Danube Lowland this tribe served as a direct link between the Eastern and Southern Slavs. The Boiko region occupies all of the High Beskyd, the eastern part of the Middle Beskyd, the western part of the Gorgany Mountains, and the Middle Carpathian Depression south of these mountains. In the north the limits of the Boiko region coincide with the borderline of the Carpathians; in the south the region borders on the Middle Carpathian territory, inhabited by the lowlanders (dolyniaky), whose dialect is considered the archaic Boiko tongue. In the west the Boiko population extends as far as the Solynka River, which is a tributary of the Sian River and marks the border with the Lemkos, and in the east it extends to the Limnytsia River valley...

Boikos



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LEMKOS. A Ukrainian ethnic group which until 1946 lived in the most western part of Ukraine on both sides of the Carpathian Mountains and along the Polish-Slovak border. The name seems to be derived from the frequent use of the word lem 'only' by the Lemkos. They usually call themselves rusnaky or rusyny (Ruthenians). Scholars and the intelligentsia began to use the name Lemko for the western groups of Ukrainian highlanders in the mid-19th century, and by the end of the century some Lemkos had accepted the name. It is not used widely in the Presov region of Slovakia. The intrinsic conservatism of the Lemkos preserved them from Polonization but at the same time impeded the rise of Ukrainian national consciousness. The Old Ruthenian cultural mainstream, led mostly by local priests, turned in a Russophile direction in the 1900s and received support from the Russian tsarist government. The Ukrainian national movement gained strength among the Lemkos only toward the end of the 19th century and was centered in Nowy Sacz and Sianik...

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LEMKO REGION (Lemkivshchyna). The territory traditionally inhabited by the Lemkos forms an ethnographic peninsula 140 km long and 25-50 km wide within Polish and Slovak territory. After the deportation of Lemkos from the northern part in 1946, only the southern part, southwest of the Carpathian Mountains, known as the Presov region in Slovakia, has remained inhabited by Lemkos. The Lemko region occupies the lowest part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains-most of the Low Beskyd, the western part of the Middle Beskyd, and the eastern fringe of the Western Beskyd. The landscape is typical of medium-height-mountain terrain, with ridges reaching 1,000 m and sometimes 1,300 m. Only small parts of southern Low Beskyd and the northern Sian region have a low-mountain landscape. A series of mountain passes along the Torysa River and Poprad River-Tylych Pass (688 m), Duklia Pass (502 m), and Lupkiv Pass (657 m)--facilitate communications between Galician and Transcarpathian Lemkos...

Lemko region



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries associated with the regions and cultural legacy of the Hutsuls, Boikos, and Lemkos were made possible by the financial support of the IVAN AND ZENOVIA BOYKO ENDOWMENT FUND at the CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF UKRAINIAN STUDIES (Edmonton, AB, Canada).



Go To Top Of Page  IX. THE CRIMEAN TATARS AND OTHER TURKIC-SPEAKING PEOPLES OF UKRAINE

Among the first Turkic peoples that came into contact with the Ukrainian territories and, for a time, controlled some of these territories were the Khazars. They appeared in southeastern Europe in the 4th century and later established the Khazar kaganate, the first state in eastern Europe. Located northwest of the Caspian Sea, the kaganate reached its zenith in the late 8th century when it gained control over most of eastern Europe up to the Dnieper River. From the late 9th century Kyivan Rus' emerged as a major opponent of the Khazars, and in 964-5 Prince Sviatoslav I Ihorevych of Kyiv conquered and destroyed the Khazar state. This action proved, to a large extent, to be detrimental to the Ukrainian lands, which became vulnerable to constant nomadic invasions from the east. The Turkic-speaking nomadic tribes of the Pechenegs, Torks, and later Cumans (Polovtsians) settled on the Black Sea steppes and repeatedly invaded the Ukrainian lands of the Kyivan Rus'. In the 13th century, the Tatars--Turkic and Mongol peoples of the Mongol Empire--invaded eastern Europe, sacked Kyiv in 1240, and destroyed the Kyivan state. For over a century Tatars controlled much of eastern Europe, including most of Ukrainian territories, from their state in the Volga Basin, known as the Golden Horde. In the early 15th century the Golden Horde weakened and then disintegrated, and independent khanates, such as the Crimean Khanate, emerged on its peripheries. The Crimean Khanate was the cradle and native region of the Crimean Tatar people. In the mid-16th century another Tatar group, the Nogay Tatars, penetrated into Ukraine from the Volga, Ural, and Caspian steppes and established several hordes in southern Ukraine as vassals of the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Turkey. These Tatar nations and descendants of other Turkic peoples populated the Crimea and most of southern Ukraine. In the late 18th century the southern Ukrainian lands and the Crimea were annexed by the Russian Empire and the Turkic inhabitants of these lands were subjugated and often resettled or forced to emigrate... Learn more about the Crimean Tatars and other Turkic-speaking peoples of Ukraine by visiting the following entries:




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TATARS. The name given to various Turkic and Mongol peoples and tribes of the 13th- to 14th-century Mongol Empire. The Tatar army under Batu Khan invaded Kyivan Rusí and took Kyiv on 6 December 1240. It devastated Ukraine and controlled most of its lands from their state in the Volga Basin. The Tatars were successful in controlling their large empire because of their administrative method. It included census-taking to determine the amount of tribute; a system of enumerators, scribes, and tax collectors; the division of conquered lands into districts; and the establishment of local administrators to enforce obedience and the payment of tribute. To maintain full control the Tatars resorted to almost systematic extortion, hostage-taking, and granting of patronage to local princes for faithful service. Periodic bloody raids helped to maintain fear and obedience. The Tatars were primarily nomadic herders and sophisticated warriors. They were shamanists but were tolerant of other religions. Merchants were highly valued by the government, and foreign traders received special privileges. The Lithuanian grand duke Algirdas was the first to wrest Ukrainian lands from the Golden Horde. In the early 15th century the Golden Horde weakened and then disintegrated, and independent khanates, such as the such as the Crimean Khanate, the Kazan Khanate, and the Astrakhan Khanate, emerged on its peripheries. The Great Horde (the nucleus of the former Golden Horde) ceased to exist after the death of its last leader, Khan Shah-Ahmet, in 1505...

Tatars



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CRIMEAN TATARS. Turkic-speaking nation native to the Crimea. The Crimean Tatars are Sunni Moslems. They emerged as a nation during the formation of the Crimean Khanate in the mid 15th century. The Khanate gained independence from the Golden Horde in 1449 and in 1478 it became a vassal state of Turkey. Following the annexation of the Crimea by Russia in 1783, the religious and economic repression of the Crimean Tatars caused their mass migration to Turkey. The number of Crimean Tatars declined continuously in absolute and relative terms. In 1926 they numbered 179,000 and were divided into two groups: the northern (or steppe) Tatars and the southern Tatars. The steppe Tatars (125,000 in 1926) lived in the northern part of the Crimea and in the adjacent mountain foothills. Their language belongs to the Kipchak (Cuman) group of the Turkic languages, and they are descendants of the Mongol-Tatar invaders of the Crimea intermixed with other Turkic steppe peoples. The Tatars, who inhabited the southern part of the peninsula, including the Crimean Mountains, are descendants (54,000 in 1926) of Tatars intermixed with various other former inhabitants of the southern Crimea--Greeks, Goths, Khazars, Italians, and Slavs. Their language belongs to the Turkish group of the Turkic languages. In 1946 the Crimean Tatars were deported en masse from the Crimea by the Soviet government. They began to return to their native land after Ukraine proclaimed independence in 1991. Today over 250,000 Tatars reside in the Crimea...

Crimean Tatars



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NOGAY TATARS. A formerly large horde of Tatars who derived their name from Nogay (d 1300), a prominent military leader of the Golden Horde. Until the 16th century they inhabited the steppe between northern Kazakhstan and southern Siberia. In the mid-16th century the Nogay Tatars split into the Great Horde, which came under Muscovite rule on the lower Volga, and the Little Horde, which migrated into the southern Ukrainian steppe and became a nominal vassal of the Crimean Khanate, constituting 40 percent of its population. The two hordes were reunited in the 1630s after the Great Horde fled from the Siberian Kalmyks. The Nogay Tatars pillaged Ukrainian settlements and were consequently in constant conflict with the Zaporozhian Cossacks. In the 1770s, after the Russian conquest of Southern Ukraine, approximately 120,000 Nogay Tatars were forcibly resettled between the Don River and the Kuban River and then in the Caspian steppe but were soon allowed to return to the coast of the Sea of Azov. After the Crimean War some 180,000 Nogay Tatars emigrated to Ottoman-ruled southern Bessarabia, and a minority remained in Subcaucasia. According to the 1989 census there were 75,181 Nogay Tatars in the USSR. Most of them lived in the Russian Federation. According to the 2001 census there are only 385 Nogay Tatars living in Ukraine today...

Nogay Tatars



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GAGAUZY. An ethnic group native to southern Bessarabia, which now constitutes parts of Odesa oblast in Ukraine and various regions of the Republic of Moldova. Origins of the Gagauzy are uncertain. Their ancestors were either Turkic Oghuz or Cumans who settled in Dobrudja in the Middle Ages, or perhaps Bulgarians who were forcibly Turkified from the 14th century onward. Although they speak Turkic, they are Orthodox, not Moslem, and are culturally close to Bulgarians, with whom they migrated to Bessarabia in the first half of the 19th century during the Russo-Turkish wars. A part of the Gagauzy resettled in the 1860s from Bessarabia to the vicinity of Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov coast, and in 1908-14 to Central Asia. In 1970, 156,600 Gagauzy lived in the USSR, 26,400 of them in the Ukrainian SSR and 125,000 in the Moldavian SSR. In 1979, 173,200 Gagauzy lived in the USSR. The majority were rural (82 percent in Ukraine in 1970) and have retained Gagauz as their mother tongue (89 percent in 1979). Today approximately 31,000 Gagauzy reside in Ukraine...

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KARAITES. A non-Talmudic Jewish sect acknowledging no authority except the Holy Scriptures. It arose in the 8th century. Karaites in Ukraine are ethnically Turkish, probably descendants of the Khazars. They began settling in the Crimea (especially in Chufut-Kaleh) sometime after the 9th century, and in Lithuania, near Trakai and Vilnius, in the 17th century; from there some moved to Western Ukraine, settling near Lutsk and Halych. Until the 20th century they lived in small, tight-knit communities, where they maintained their Turkic language and customs. In 1863 they were officially recognized in the Russian Empire as a distinct ethnic group and exempted from the laws that applied to Jews. From 1837 the Karaim Religious Board in Yevpatoriia administered the Karaite community. Yet, their numbers continued to decline through assimilation. In the USSR they were considered to be a separate nationality and they continue to be recognized as such in independent Ukraine. Their number has fallen steadily, from 8,324 in 1926 to just 3,341 in 1979. In 1970 there were 2,596 in the Crimea. They are also found in Volhynia oblast and Odesa oblast. Today there are no more than 800 Karaites in the Crimea, some 1,200 in Ukraine in total. Their language belongs to the Kipchak (Cuman) group of Turkish, although the Karaites in Western Ukraine and elsewhere have their own dialects. Now, most use Russian...

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KRYMCHAKS (krymchaky). Turkic-speaking Jews in the Crimea who are believed to be descendants of the Khazars. They professed Orthodox, Talmudic Judaism and had their own form of ritual and their own dialect, written mostly in the Hebrew script. Their major centers were Qarasubazar (present-day Bilohirsk) and Simferopol. In 1926 they numbered 6,400. Many were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War, and others emigrated or assimilated, or fled to other parts of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1974, estimates placed their number at 2,500 in the USSR, most of them in the Crimea. In 1989 the Krymchakhlar cultural and educational association was established in the Crimea in order to preserve the language and customs of this disappearing national minority. Since the 1990s some Krymchaks have emigrated to Israel. According to the 2001 census, there were 406 Krymchaks living in Ukraine...

Krymchaks


The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries about the Crimean Tatars and other Turkic-speaking peoples of Ukraine were made possible by the financial support of the MICHAEL KOWALSKY AND DARIA MUCAK-KOWALSKY ENCYCLOPEDIA ENDOWMENT FUND at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Edmonton, AB, Canada).



Go To Top Of Page  X. THE HISTORY OF UKRAINIANS IN POLAND

Although many Ukrainians lived within Polish national territory before the 20th century, relatively few of them resided within ethnic Polish lands. A substantial number of Ukrainians lived in the borderland Lemko region, Sian region, Kholm region and Podlachia, but only approximately 20,000 lived in Poland proper. Many of that group left Poland during the First World War. They were replaced in the interwar period with a very different type of Ukrainian community. With the final defeat of the Ukrainian National Republic in its struggle for independence some 30,000 Ukrainians, mostly military personnel, remained or were interned in Poland and Poland became a major center of Ukrainian emigre political activity until 1939. During the early part of the Second World War (1939-41) the number of Ukrainians in Poland increased dramatically as a result of the influx of refugees from the Bolshevik-occupied territories of Western Ukraine. However, Ukrainian life in Poland changed completely in the postwar period. Most Ukrainians who lived in central Poland left for the West, and most of those remaining were resettled as a result of the final alignment of borders between the Polish People's Republic and the USSR. Some 500,000 Ukrainians living in PPR were resettled in the Ukrainian SSR. Nevertheless a substantial Ukrainian minority remained in northwestern Galicia, the Sian region, Podlachia, and particularly the Lemko region, which was controlled by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 1946-7. In 1947 the Polish government mounted Operation Wisla, a wholesale forced deportation of Ukrainians from their ethnographic territory. They were resettled in the German territories acquired by Poland after the Second World War. Only in 1956, after a liberalization of the communist regime, were Ukrainians granted certain national minority rights and allowed to form their own organization, the Ukrainian Social and Cultural Society, which in 1990 was reconstituted as the Association of Ukrainians in Poland... Learn more about the history of Ukrainians in Poland by visiting the following entries:




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LEMKO REGION. The territory traditionally inhabited by the Lemkos forms an ethnographic peninsula 140 km long and 25-50 km wide within Polish and Slovak territory. A small part of the Lemko region extends into the territory of Ukraine. After the deportation of Lemkos from the northern part in 1946 as a result of the Operation Wisla, only the southern part, southwest of the Carpathian Mountains, known as the Presov region in Slovakia, has remained inhabited by Lemkos. Until 1946 the Galician Lemko region comprised the southern part of Nowy Sacz, Gorlice, Jaslo, Krosno, and Sianik counties, the southwestern part of Lisko county, and four villages of Nowy Targ county. The area covered nearly 3,500 sq km and had a population of 200,000, of which 160,000 (1939) were Ukrainians inhabiting about 300 villages. The southern Lemko region belonged to Kyiv's sphere of influence from the mid-10th century to the 1020s, when it came under the rule of Hungary. The eastern part of the northern Lemko region belonged to Kyivan Rus', and then the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia. After the Polish King Casimir III the Great occupied the eastern part of the Lemko region in the 1340s, the entire Lemko region came under the rule of Poland until 1772...

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SIAN (SAN) REGION. A name occasionally used to designate the area situated approximately along both sides of the Sian River north of the Lemko region and the city of Sianik along the border between Ukrainian and Polish ethnic territories. The Sian region includes sections of the Low Beskyd and the Middle Beskyd, the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and the Sian Lowland. Its major centers include the cities of Peremyshl, Jaroslaw, and Sianik. It was part of the Kyivan Rus' state and the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia before coming under Polish control, as part of the Rus' voivodeship, in 1340-1772. In 1772-1918 the Sian region was part of the Austrian Empire, in 1918-19, part of the Western Ukrainian National Republic, and in 1923-39, part of the Polish state. In 1939, as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the region was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union along the Sian River, and then in 1941 occupied totally by the Germans. It was subsequently taken over by the USSR and then ceded once more to Poland in a treaty signed on 16 August 1945. Only a tiny corner of the region, around Peremyshl, was incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR...

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PEREMYSHL (PRZEMYSL). A city (2006 pop 66,715) on the Sian River. One of the oldest cities in Galicia, it has been throughout its history a major Ukrainian political, cultural, and religious center. Peremyshl is first mentioned in the chronicles under the year 981 when Grand Prince Volodymyr the Great annexed it to the Kyivan state. In the late 11th century it became the seat of a separate Peremyshl principality ruled by the Rostyslavych dynasty of Rus' princes. In 1349 Peremyshl was captured by the Polish king Casimir III the Great. In 1434 Peremyshl became a starostvo center in the Rus' voivodeship. In the 16th and early 17th centuries the city was an important cultural center, but it declined in the 18th century. In 1772 Peremyshl was transferred to Austria. Under Austrian rule new opportunities opened before Ukrainians in Peremyshl. Thanks to the efforts of Ivan Mohylnytsky and the support of Ukrainian bishops the city became, in the first half of the 19th century, an important Ukrainian educational center. It remained a vital religious center until 1939: it was the seat of the Greek Catholic Bishop Yosafat Kotsylovsky and the home of the Peremyshl Greek Catholic Theological Seminary. In 1939, of 54,200 residents in Peremyshl, 8,600 (15.8 percent) were Ukrainians...

Peremyshl



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KHOLM (CHELM) REGION. A historical-geographical land west of the Buh River, bordering on the Polish Lublin region in the west, Volhynia in the east, Podlachia in the north, and Galicia in the south. Because it was a borderland, the Kholm region did not develop strong ties with the rest of Ukraine's territories, and until the 20th century its Ukrainian population had a relatively weak sense of national identity. The reign of Prince Danylo Romanovych of the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia in the 13th century was the exception: being on the periphery of the Mongol invasion, the region enjoyed relative peace and prosperity, and Danylo made Kholm, its major city, his capital. Its proximity to Poland, however, made the region susceptible to Polish influences and facilitated its Polonization, beginning in the 14th century. Thereafter the history of both the Kholm region and Podlachia unfolded in a manner that was unique for Ukraine's lands, particularly in the religious sphere. After the Second World War the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian population was forcibly resettled by the Polish authorities as part of the Operation Wisla, and few Ukrainians live there today...

Kholm region



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PODLACHIA (PODLASIE). A historical-geographical region along the middle stretch of the Buh River between the Kholm region in the south and the Belarus border in the north and between Mazovia in the west and Volhynia and Polisia in the east. The Ukrainian name is derived from the word liakh 'Pole' and means 'near Poland,' whereas the Polish name is derived from las 'forest,' and means 'near the forest.' The name was first used in 1520 to designate Podlachia voivodeship, which extended at that time as far north as the sources of the Borba River. The region had an area of approx 5,350 sq km and included Biala Podlaska, Volodava, and Kostiantyniv (Konstantynow) counties. Because of its peripheral location Podlachia did not develop strong ties with other parts of Ukraine or a sharp sense of national identity. In the northern part the national distinctions between Ukrainians and Belarusians did not crystallize. Podlachia's proximity to the Polish heartland facilitated Polish expansion into the region. Flanked by Prussia on one side and the marshlands of Polisia on the other, Podlachia served as a corridor between Poland and Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia...

Podlachia



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UKRAINIAN SOCIAL AND CULTURAL SOCIETY (USKT). Established in 1956, the USKT was the only community institution in postwar Poland allowed to engage in Ukrainian cultural and educational activities until the 1980s. In spite of its official sanction, the USKT functioned under surveillance by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 1981 the USKT headquarters in Warsaw oversaw 170 groups with nearly 6,000 members, and in 1988, 180 groups with about 7,500 members, all of whom were spread throughout Poland. Of these, only 10 percent lived on traditional Ukrainian ethnographic territory. For a long time the USKT was barred from forming groups in the Kholm region and in Podlachia. The largest branches (1981 figures) were in Peremyshl (400 members), Gdansk (250), Szczecin (250), Koszalin (200), Cracow, Katowice, Olsztyn, Slupsk, Warsaw, and Wroclaw. The society has published the weekly Nashe slovo as well as the annual Ukrains'kyi kalendar (currently Ukrains'kyi al'manakh). In 1990 the USKT was reconstituted as the Association of Ukrainians in Poland...

Ukrainian Social and Cultural Society



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries about the history of Ukrainians in Poland were made possible by the financial support of the STEPHEN AND OLGA PAWLUK UKRAINIAN STUDIES ENDOWMENT FUND at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Edmonton, AB, Canada).



Go To Top Of Page  XI. UKRAINIANS IN CANADA (PART 1): THE PRAIRIE PROVINCES

The Canadian prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta were the primary destinations for the first 'pioneering' waves of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. A total of approximately 170,000 Ukrainians settled in Canada in the first and largest wave of immigration between 1891 and 1914. The majority came from the Galicia and Bukovyna regions of Western Ukraine, although there was a significant emigration from the Right-Bank territories of Russian-ruled Ukraine. Most of these settlers were attracted by the offer of homestead allotments of 160 acres (64.7 ha) in the prairie provinces for the nominal cost of $10.00. A second interwar wave of Ukrainian immigration, mainly between 1924 and 1930, brought an additional 68,000 Ukrainians. In 1931, nearly 85 percent of Ukrainian Canadians could be found in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. That situation has changed considerably since then as a result of internal migration, which has seen large numbers of prairie Ukrainians moving to British Columbia or Ontario, as well as a preference for Ukrainians in the third and fourth waves of immigration to settle in the urban centers of central Canada. Until the Second World War Winnipeg was indisputably the Ukrainian Canadian 'capital.' Since that time Toronto and then Edmonton have also emerged as major Ukrainian Canadian organizational, publishing, and cultural centers... Learn more about Ukrainians in the prairie provinces of Canada by visiting the following entries:



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MANITOBA. A prairie province (2006 pop 1,133,510), situated near the geographical center of Canada. In 2006, 167,175 people in the province claimed Ukrainian ancestry. They represented approximately 14 percent of the total Ukrainian-Canadian population. 23,340 of them claimed Ukrainian as a mother tongue. The capital of and largest city in Manitoba is Winnipeg. The first Ukrainian rural settlements were established in 1896 by immigrants from Galicia and Bukovyna at Stuartburn, south of Winnipeg, and at Lake Dauphin (Terebowla). By 1914 a wide network of Ukrainian homesteads and rural trade centers or railway towns could be found in the province. Manitoba was easily the most significant Canadian province in terms of Ukrainian community life until after the Second World War. The province had the largest portion of the Ukrainian population in Canada--approximately 42 percent in the 1911 and 1921 censuses, 33 percent in 1931, and 30 percent in 1941--and Winnipeg, with a Ukrainian population several times greater than that of any other urban center in Canada, dominated the community's press and organizational life...

Manitoba



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WINNIPEG. The capital of and the largest city (2006 pop 694,668) in Manitoba. After the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the city in 1885, it became the central railway and immigration dispersal point through which European immigrants passed en route to settling in western Canada. Winnipeg quickly emerged as the largest center of urban Ukrainian population in Canada. Prior to the Second World War its Ukrainian population was several times that of any other Canadian city and it had the largest urban concentration of Ukrainians in Canada until the 1970s. For more than a century, the city has served as the spiritual and administrative center of both the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Canada and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. For many decades it was the most important Ukrainian Canadian organizational, publishing, and cultural center. Winnipeg has been the national headquarters of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (formerly Committee), an umbrella organization that seeks to coordinate the activity of most nationalist and church organizations, since 1940...

Winnipeg



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SASKATCHEWAN. A prairie province (2006 pop 968, 157) of Canada, lying between Manitoba and Alberta. Its capital is Regina. According to Canadian census figures, its Ukrainian population in 2006 was 129,265. Some 16,350 stated Ukrainian as their mother tongue. The first Ukrainian 'colony' in Saskatchewan was established in the Montmartre-Candiac area by 1895-6. In subsequent years large numbers of Ukrainian immigrants moved into bloc settlements in rural Saskatchewan. They were overwhelmingly agricultural settlers. Their influx peaked in 1911-14. Only a small number of Ukrainians (just over 2,000) arrived in the province with the post-Second World War immigration. Historically, Saskatchewan has been an important center for Ukrainian organizational life in Canada. In addition to playing a pivotal role in the creation of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada in 1918, Saskatoon's Mohyla Ukrainian Institute provided a strong focus for the activities of the samostiinyky who established the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League (USRL) in 1927 as well as the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada in 1926...

Saskatchewan



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ALBERTA. The western-most prairie province in Canada, with a population in 2006 of 3,256,355. In 2006 there were 332,180 people of Ukrainian origin in the province and 31,265 of them claimed Ukrainian as their mother tongue. The largest concentrations of Ukrainian Canadians in Alberta are in Edmonton (144,620) and Calgary (76,240). The first documented Ukrainian visitors to Alberta--Ivan Pylypow and Wasyl Eleniak--arrived in 1891. Virtually all of Alberta's earliest Ukrainian settlers came from the Western Ukrainian regions of Galicia and Bukovyna. The bloc-settlement district of east central Alberta was the largest 'colony' of its kind in Canada. The first wave of Ukrainian immigrants consisted predominantly of agriculturalists. A minority worked as laborers in the cities or as miners. The earliest Ukrainian community organizations in Alberta tended to be Prosvita society-style cultural-educational groups, many of which supported choirs and/or theater troupes. Alberta's Ukrainians have had a strong political record. Their first major entry into provincial politics was in 1913, when they elected Andrew Shandro to the province's Legislative Assembly...

Alberta



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EDMONTON. Capital city (2006 pop 1,024,825) of the province of Alberta in western Canada. There were 144,620 residents of Ukrainian origin in Edmonton in 2006 (102,955 of them of multiple ethnic background). They formed 14.1 percent of the city's population which made Edmonton the largest Ukrainian urban community in Canada. Ukrainians started settling in Edmonton at the end of the 19th century. Notwithstanding the substantial numbers of immigrants passing through Edmonton at that time on their way to the homesteads in the burgeoning Ukrainian bloc settlement area in east central Alberta, the settlement itself had only a small number of resident Ukrainians. Over time, however, Edmonton has developed into one of the most important centers of Ukrainian religious, organizational, educational, and cultural life in Canada. In 1974 the first English-Ukrainian bilingual or partial immersion classes in the public school system, which subsequently spread to other prairie centers, were established in Edmonton...

Edmonton



The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries featuring Ukrainian communities in the Canadian prairie provinces were made possible by the financial support from the MICHAEL KOWALSKY AND DARIA MUCAK-KOWALSKY ENCYCLOPEDIA ENDOWMENT FUND at the CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF UKRAINIAN STUDIES.



ABOUT IEU: Once completed, the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine will be the most comprehensive source of information in English on Ukraine, its history, people, geography, society, economy, and cultural heritage. With over 20,000 detailed encyclopedic entries supplemented with thousands of maps, photographs, illustrations, tables, and other graphic and/or audio materials, this immense repository of knowledge is designed to present Ukraine and Ukrainians to the world.

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