Ukrainian traditions are strongly influenced by Christianity, the country’s main religion. Gender roles are considerably more conventional, and grandparents play a larger part in child rearing than in the West. Ukraine’s culture has also been affected by its eastern and western neighbors, as shown by its architecture, music, and art.
The Communist period had a significant impact on Ukrainian art and literature. When Stalin issued the order “On the Reconstruction of Literary and Art Organizations” in 1932, he established socialist realism as official policy in the Soviet Union. This severely hampered creativity. During the 1980s, glasnost (openness) was established, and Soviet artists and authors were once again allowed to express themselves freely.
The Easter egg custom, known as pysanky, has deep origins in Ukraine. These eggs were wax-coated to form a design, and then dye was added to give the eggs their pleasing colors; the dye had no effect on the previously wax-coated portions of the egg. The wax was removed once the whole egg had been colored, leaving just the colorful design. This custom dates back thousands of years, predating the advent of Christianity in Ukraine. In the city of Kolomyia, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, the museum of Pysanka was constructed in 2000 and was nominated as a landmark of contemporary Ukraine in 2007, as part of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine campaign.
Weaving and embroidery
The artisan textile arts are significant in Ukrainian culture, particularly in Ukrainian wedding customs. Ukrainian embroidery, weaving, and lacemaking are utilized in traditional folk clothing and festivities. Ukrainian embroidery differs according to area of origin, and the patterns have a long history of motifs, compositions, color choices, and stitch kinds. Color is very significant and has deep origins in Ukrainian culture. The Rushnyk Museum in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi preserves embroidery themes prevalent across Ukraine.
The national costume is woven and beautifully ornamented. Weaving on handmade looms is still practiced in the Rivne Oblast hamlet of Krupove. The hamlet is the birthplace of two well-known figures in the national crafts manufacturing scene. Nina Myhailivna and Uliana Petrivna have received worldwide acclaim. To conserve this ancient expertise, the town intends to establish a weaving center, a museum, and a weaving school.
Ukrainian literature has a history that goes back to the 11th century, after the Christianization of the Kievan Rus’. The majority of the works at the period were liturgical in nature and were written in Old Church Slavonic. The most important historical accounts of the period were known as chronicles, the most important of which was the Primary Chronicle. During the Mongol conquest of Rus’, literary output fell precipitously.
Ukrainian literature started to flourish again in the 14th century, and progressed considerably in the 16th century with the advent of print and the commencement of the Cossack period, both under Russian and Polish domination. The Cossacks created an autonomous society and promoted a new kind of epic poetry, ushering in a golden age of Ukrainian oral literature. These advancements were subsequently reversed in the 17th and early 18th centuries, when printing in Ukrainian was became illegal and banned. Despite this, by the late 18th century, contemporary literary Ukrainian had developed.
The first book published in contemporary Ukrainian, Eneyida by Ivan Kotliarevsky, launched a vernacular era in Ukraine in the nineteenth century. By the 1830s, Ukrainian romanticism was gaining traction, and Taras Shevchenko, the nation’s most famous cultural icon, emerged as a romanticist poet-painter. Whereas Ivan Kotliarevsky is regarded as the founder of Ukrainian vernacular literature, Shevchenko is regarded as the father of a national renaissance.
The Russian Empire essentially banned the use of the Ukrainian language in print in 1863. This severely limited literary activity in the region, forcing Ukrainian authors to either publish in Russian or distribute their works in Austrian-controlled Galicia. The prohibition was never formally removed, but it became outdated following the revolution and the rise of the Bolsheviks to power.
Ukrainian literature flourished during the early Soviet years, when virtually all literary styles were sanctioned (the most important literary figures of that time were Mykola Khvylovy, Valerian Pidmohylny, Mykola Kulish, Mykhayl Semenko and some others). These policies suffered a sharp fall in the 1930s, when the NKVD executed important representatives and many others as part of the Great Purge. In all, 223 authors were persecuted during what was known as the Executed Renaissance. These repressions were part of Stalin’s socialist realism doctrine. The ideology did not necessarily forbid the use of the Ukrainian language, but it did compel authors to write in a particular manner.
Literary activity were relatively restricted in post-Stalinist periods under the Communist Party. Lina Kostenko, Dmytro Pavlychko, Borys Oliynyk (uk), Ivan Drach, Oles Honchar, Vasyl Stus, and Vasyl Symonenko were among the most well-known personalities in Ukrainian postwar Soviet literature.
With the fall of the USSR and the re-establishment of Ukrainian independence in 1991, literary freedom emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Oksana Zabuzhko, Yurii Andrukhovych, Oleksandr Irvanets (uk), Serhiy Zhadan, Taras Prokhasko, Jaroslav Melnik, Yuriy Izdryk (uk), Yuriy Pokalchuk, Yuriy Vynnychuk, and Andrey Kurkov are among the most renowned post-Soviet authors.
Ukrainian architecture is a phrase used to describe the themes and styles seen in buildings constructed in contemporary Ukraine and by Ukrainians all over the globe. These include the first roots planted in the Eastern Slavic polity of Kievan Rus’. The unique architectural history remained in the principalities of Galicia-Volhynia beyond the 12th century. Under the western influences of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, a new style peculiar to Ukraine emerged during the period of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. Following the union with the Tsardom of Russia, numerous buildings in the greater eastern, Russian-ruled region were constructed in Russian architectural styles of the day, while western Galicia was developed under Austro-Hungarian architectural influences. Ukrainian national themes would eventually be utilized throughout the Soviet Union’s reign and in contemporary independent Ukraine.
After the introduction of Christianity in 988, the magnificent churches of the Rus’ were the earliest instances of monumental architecture in the East Slavic countries. Byzantine architecture heavily impacted the Kievan state’s architectural style. Early Eastern Orthodox churches were mostly constructed of wood, with the most basic kind being known as a cell church. Major cathedrals often had a slew of tiny domes, prompting some art historians to speculate that this was a precursor to the emergence of pre-Christian pagan Slavic temples.
Several instances of these churches still exist; however, many were externally rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The magnificent St. Sophia of Kiev – the year 1017 is the oldest record of foundation placed – Church of the Saviour at Berestove – constructed from 1113 to 1125 – and St. Cyril’s Church, approximately 12th-century are examples. All of these things may still be found in Ukraine’s capital. Several buildings were reconstructed in the late nineteenth century, including the Assumption Cathedral in Volodymyr-Volynskyi, which was built in 1160 and reconstructed in 1896–1900, the Paraskevi church in Chernihiv, which was built in 1201 and reconstructed in the late 1940s, and the Golden Gates in Kiev, which were built in 1037 and reconstructed in 1982. Some art and architecture historians criticized the latter’s rebuilding as a revivalist dream. Unfortunately, little little secular or vernacular Kievan Rus’ architecture has survived.
Russian architects had the chance to realize their ideas amid the beautiful environment that many Ukrainian towns and areas provided as Ukraine grew more incorporated into the Russian Empire. St. Andrew’s Church in Kiev (1747–1754), designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, is a noteworthy example of Baroque architecture, and its position on top of the Kievan mountain has made it a city landmark. Rasetrelli’s other noteworthy contribution was the Mariyinsky Palace, which was constructed as a vacation home for Russian Empress Elizabeth. Andrey Kvasov constructed magnificent constructions in several of the Cossack Hetmanate’s cities, including Hlukhiv, Baturyn, and Koselets, during the reign of Ukraine’s final Hetman, Kirill Razumovsky. Russia ultimately seized Ukraine’s south and Crimea, renaming them New Russia. New cities were established, including Nikolayev, Odessa, Kherson, and Sevastopol. There would be noteworthy instances of Imperial Russian architecture in these.
The capital of Soviet Ukraine was relocated from Kharkiv to Kiev in 1934. Previously, the city was seen as just a regional center, and therefore got little attention. All of that was about to change, at a high cost. The first instances of Stalinist architecture were already visible, and in accordance with state doctrine, a new metropolis was to be constructed on top of the old. This meant that well-known examples, such as St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, were demolished. Even the St. Sophia Cathedral was under jeopardy. The wreckage was also influenced by the Second World War. Following the war, a new concept for downtown Kiev rebuilding turned Khreshchatyk avenue into a noteworthy example of Stalinism in Architecture. However, by 1955, the new architectural politics had once again prevented the idea from being completely realized.
The goal of contemporary Ukrainian architecture is to apply modern aesthetics in a variety of ways, to find one’s own creative style, and to include the existing historico-cultural context. The restoration and renewal of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in downtown Kiev is an example of contemporary Ukrainian architecture. Despite the limitations imposed by the plaza’s limited area, the engineers were able to integrate together the uneven terrain and utilize subterranean space for a new retail center.
The development of the Kiev City-Centre on the Rybalskyi Peninsula, which, when completed, would feature a dense skyscraper park among the beautiful Dnieper scenery, is a significant project that may take up the majority of the twenty-first century.
Music is an important element of Ukrainian culture, having a lengthy history and a wide range of influences. Ukraine has produced many globally recognized artists, including Kirill Karabits, Okean Elzy, and Ruslana, in genres ranging from traditional folk music to classical and contemporary rock. Traditional Ukrainian folk music elements have found their way into Western music and even contemporary jazz.
Ukrainian music may be confusing at times, combining exotic melismatic singing with chordal harmony. The most noticeable general feature of genuine ethnic Ukrainian folk music is the extensive usage of minor modes or keys with augmented 2nd intervals.
Music was an essential discipline for individuals who had acquired a higher education in Ukraine throughout the Baroque era. It had a significant position in the curriculum of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Many Ukrainian Cossack commanders, such as (Mazepa, Paliy, Holovatyj, Sirko), were excellent musicians of the kobza, bandura, or torban.
In 1738, the first specialized musical school was established in Hlukhiv, Ukraine, where pupils were taught to sing, play the violin, and bandura from manuscripts. As a consequence, many of the first composers and performers in the Russian empire were ethnically Ukrainian, having been born or trained in Hlukhiv or been intimately connected with this music school. Dmytro Bortniansky, Maksym Berezovsky, and Artemiy Vedel are examples.
Ukrainian classical music is divided into three categories based on whether the composer was of Ukrainian ethnicity and lived in Ukraine, a composer of non-Ukrainian ethnicity who was born or was a citizen of Ukraine at some point, or an ethnic Ukrainian living outside of Ukraine as part of the Ukrainian diaspora. The music of these three ensembles is very different, as are the audiences to which they appeal.
Western-influenced pop music has grown in popularity in Ukraine since the mid-1960s. Mariana Sadovska, a folk singer and harmonium player, is well-known. Ukrainian pop and folk music grew in popularity as a result of the worldwide success of groups and singers such as Vopli Vidoplyasova, Dakh Daughters, Dakha Brakha, Ivan Dorn, and Okean Elzy.
Ukraine has made an impact on the history of film. Ukrainian directors Alexander Dovzhenko, a pioneer of Soviet montage theory as well as one of the most prominent early Soviet filmmakers, Dovzhenko Film Studios, and Sergei Parajanov, an Armenian film director and artist who made major contributions to Ukrainian, Armenian, and Georgian cinema. He developed his own cinematic style, Ukrainian poetic cinema, which contradicted the guiding principles of socialist realism.
Kira Muratova, Larisa Shepitko, Sergei Bondarchuk, Leonid Bykov, Yuri Ilyenko, Leonid Osyka, Ihor Podolchak with his Delirium, and Maryna Vroda are among the other notable directors. Many Ukrainian performers, notably Vera Kholodnaya, Bohdan Stupka, Milla Jovovich, Olga Kurylenko, and Mila Kunis, have gained worldwide acclaim and critical acclaim.
Despite a long history of significant and profitable works, the industry has often been defined by a dispute about its identity and the extent of European and Russian influence. Ukrainian producers are involved in foreign co-productions, and Ukrainian actors, directors, and crew members appear often in Russian (Soviet in the past) films. Battleship Potemkin, Man with a Movie Camera, and Everything Is Illuminated are examples of successful films based on Ukrainian personalities, stories, or events.
The Ukrainian State Film Agency owns the National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Film Centre, a film copying laboratory and archive, and participates in the hosting of the Odessa International Film Festival. Molodist is the only FIAPF accredited International Film Festival held in Ukraine; the competition program is devoted to student, first short, and first feature films from around the world. Every year in October.
Georgiy Gongadze established Ukrainska Pravda in April 2000. (the day of the Ukrainian constitutional referendum). The newspaper is mostly published in Ukrainian, with selected pieces published in or translated into Russian and English. It focuses on Ukrainian politics. Ukraine’s press freedom is regarded as among the freest of the post-Soviet nations other than the Baltic states. The Internet in Ukraine is classified as “free,” while the press is classified as “somewhat free” by Freedom House. Since the 2004 Orange Revolution, press freedom has increased considerably. However, Freedom House saw “bad developments in Ukraine” in 2010.
Kiev leads Ukraine’s media sector: the Kyiv Post is the country’s main English-language daily. Although Lviv is also a major national media center, national newspapers Den and Mirror Weekly, tabloids like as The Ukrainian Week and Focus (Russian), and television and radio are mostly located there. Ukrinform, Ukraine’s National News Agency, was established here in 1918. The Ukraine publishing industry, which includes books, directories, and databases, journals, magazines, and business media, as well as newspapers and news agencies, has a total revenue of $1 billion. Sanoma publishes Ukrainian versions of publications such as Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, and National Geographic. BBC Ukrainian began broadcasting in 1992.
On average, Ukrainians listen to commercial radio programs, such as Radio Ukraine or Radio Liberty, for little over two and a half hours each day. Several television stations are in operation, and several websites are popular.
The Soviet focus on physical education benefitted Ukraine tremendously. As a result of such initiatives, Ukraine now has hundreds of stadiums, swimming pools, gymnasiums, and other sports facilities. Football is the most popular sport. The Vyscha Liha is the highest professional league (“premier league”).
Many Ukrainians also played for the Soviet national football team, including Golden Ball Award winners Ihor Belanov and Oleh Blokhin. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this medal was only given to one Ukrainian, Andriy Shevchenko. The national squad made their FIFA World Cup debut in 2006, reaching the semifinals before falling to eventual winners Italy. Ukrainians have also done well in boxing, as Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have won world heavyweight titles.
From 1993 until 2014, Sergey Bubka held the Pole vault world record; with tremendous power, speed, and gymnastic skills, he was named the world’s greatest athlete on numerous times.
Basketball is getting more popular in Ukraine. Ukraine was awarded the opportunity to host EuroBasket 2015 in 2011. Two years later, the Ukraine national basketball team placed sixth at EuroBasket 2013 and qualified for the first time in its history for the FIBA World Cup. Budivelnyk Kyiv, a Euroleague participant, is Ukraine’s most powerful professional basketball team.
In Ukraine, chess is a popular sport. Former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov In Ukraine, there are about 85 Grandmasters and 198 International Masters.
Ukraine made its Olympic debut in the Winter Olympics in 1994. So far, Ukraine has fared much better in the Summer Olympics (115 medals in five visits) than in the Winter Olympics. Ukraine is presently placed 35th in the All-Time Olympic Games medal total, with every nation above it having more appearances except Russia.
Traditional Ukrainian cuisine consists of chicken, pig, beef, fish, and mushrooms. Ukrainians consume a lot of potatoes, cereals, raw, cooked, or pickled veggies, and so on. Traditional dishes include varenyky (boiled dumplings with mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, cherries or berries), nalysnyky (pancakes with cottage cheese, poppy seeds, mushrooms, caviar or meat), kapuniak (soup made with meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, millet, tomato paste, spices and fresh herbs), borsch (soup made with beets, cabbage and mushrooms or meat) (dumplings filled with boiled potatoes and cheese or meat). Chicken Kiev and Kiev cake are two more Ukrainian specialities. Ukrainians consume stewed fruit, juices, milk, buttermilk (from which cottage cheese is made), mineral water, tea and coffee, beer, wine, and horilka.