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Happy Orthodox Easter from United Ukraine
Ukraine's new and old symbols of rebirth
Hello, this is Nathan with United Ukraine. Today, Easter is celebrated on the Orthodox calendar. A Ukrainian friend posted this image from the internet that combines “Pysanky” a Ukrainian style of Easter eggs made with wax etching and new images of rebirth and endurance that have emerged from the war.
Each of these eggs is its own symbol. The dove of peace is probably the most familiar but not everyone will recognize the dove’s avian brother: the rooster of resistance. The rooster referred to here is a ceramic pitcher designed by 20th-century Ukrainian artist Prokop Bidasiuk. They were mass-produced in a town near Kyiv, particularly in the 50s, 60s, and 70s,
The rooster rose to fame when a photo of it emerged undamaged perched atop a miraculously preserved cabinet in a destroyed apartment building in Borodyanka (about an hour drive from my apartment in Kyiv).
The impossible rooster became an immediate symbol of Ukrainian resilience. Another sign of life is the sunflower. Ukraine is covered in beautiful yellow sunflower fields, which you can’t fail to notice when traveling across the country by train. The yellow fields against a blue sky evoke the national flag and a country that has always maintained a strong cultural connection to its agriculture. So, naturally, when photos emerged of abandoned Russian tanks being towed away, the image of peaceful tools of farming overcoming weapons of wars reflected the desire to “beat their swords into plowshares.” Ukraine’s National Agency for the Protection against Corruption went so far as to reassure farmers that captured tanks need not be declared as taxable income.
The final symbol is the text you would pronounce something like “Oy ee loozee” it’s the first line of a patriotic Ukrainian folk song. “The Red Viburnum in the Meadow.” It became globally famous when a Ukrainian rockstar from the band Boombox canceled his US tour in order to join Kyiv’s territorial defense and posted a now-viral clip of himself singing the song.
My Ukrainian isn’t great, but as I understand it’s a song about raising up a fallen flower. He’s taken this video in front of Kyiv’s Saint Sofia cathedral which, in addition to being of great historical and cultural significance, is also where I used to walk my dog.
One thing I’ve noticed today is that my Ukrainian friends are reflecting more on the meaning of Easter than in previous years. From the symbols that attract people now, you can see that the topic of rebirth is on everyone’s mind. I think everyone feels like they went through a kind of death sixty days ago. People felt that after the war they couldn’t dance or smile. Some friends of mine got married in Kyiv a few days before the war broke out. They didn’t announce it. But slowly, people have been returning with signs of life. People have started to dance again. My friends announced their wedding.
And one of the most noted symbols of this enlivening is this:
It’s called Pasca and is the traditional cake eaten for Easter in Ukraine. I always remember them from stores but this year more of my friends are reflecting on them with gratitude, a welcome normal pleasure and sign of the return of life.
And some of those Pasca are coming from partners of United Ukraine. Yuriy and Helen are organic farmers in Ukraine that are supporting war efforts as cultivators of life. Here are soldiers from territorial defense receiving a delivery of Pasca from Helen and Yuriy.
And behind Helen and Yuriy are a whole team:
And a lot more delivered than Pasca:
Another source of life has been Vlad Shast, who we’ve written about before. He’s been building field hospitals and doing other important support for territorial defense. This war is doubly significant to him because in addition to being Ukrainian, as a member of the LGBT community he would undoubtedly face persecution in a Russia-controlled Ukraine. Despite all the risk, his vivacity and earnest desire to express gratitude to United Ukraine and his donors has won us all over. We feel his selfie speaks for itself:
United Ukraine’s board tried to recreate the magic:
Even my dog had a take:
A currently anonymous patron is now donating $10 for every “Vlad selfie” posted online and tagged with United Ukraine. As far I know, this is the only opportunity to provide material support to Ukraine powered only by your own fabulousness.
Since the last update, we’ve sent out an additional $4,569.75 to families and organizations in Ukraine. Due to our early focus on supporting pregnant women, we are now welcoming our third baby.
Life continues to arise even in the midst of this war.
And it can keep flowing with your support:
And we accept checks via mail at:
225 Bright Poppy
Irvine, CA 92618
Thank you so much for your attention and support. Happy Easter!