Culture of Ukraine

Ukrainian culture is a reflection of its turbulent history. Ukrainian customs and traditions absorbed the experience of many generations of people who lived in the country during its long history. Every new generation brought its own vision of every day rules of life, creating what is called today the national culture.

National traditions are the heart of the national culture. They determine the way people live: their language, religious belief, life values, social relationships, material goods - food, clothing, buildings, tools. Traditions and customs vary regionally within Ukraine. There are significant cultural differences between city and village, Western and Eastern Ukraine.

Major attributes of Ukrainian culture are known in the entire world. Here they are: "pysanky" (a painted Easter eggs), Cossacksbandura (a musical instrument), hopak(a Ukrainian dance), borsch (national soup). Certainly, each of them is a small symbol of culture of Ukraine. But there are lots of other elements which went through centuries from one generation to the next creating and preserving national culture.

Rus of Kyiv adopted Christianity in 998, and it became the dominant religion in Ukraine. Now there are three major religious branches: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate, 70%), Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate, 20%), and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (9.8%).

Folk music in Ukraine reflects traditions of the Rus of Kyiv. There were mainly ritual songs. Historical songs and kobza-playing appeared as typical Ukrainian folk genres in the sixteenth century. The first Ukrainian opera, Zaporozhets za Dunayem by Semen Hulak-Artemovsky was written in 1863. Ukrainian classical music was dominated by Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912).

Ukrainians are well known for their hospitality. They love to invite people to their homes or to visit their friends or relatives. Following traditional customs Ukrainiansput all the best food on the table once the guests enter their home. Ukrainian parties are a long process with plenty of eating, drinking, and conversation.