СТУДІЙНИЙ ОСЕРЕДОК УКРАЇНСЬКОЇ КУЛЬТУРИ
The Ukrainian Heritage Studies Center (UHSC) was established in 1977 to preserve, promote,and perpetuate Ukrainian culture and traditions through educational and cultural programs. In addition to a folk art collection, the UHSC maintains an extensive Ukrainian library and archives.
Folk Art Collection
The collection includes gerdany (beadwork), embroidery, pysanky (decorated eggs), pottery, leather work, wood work, ceramics, and woven items from many different regions in Ukraine. Some of the items have been reproduced by master traditional artists from pictures or old originals that are deteriorating and in danger of being lost forever.
The UHSC is also collecting pictures of folk art from people who are not willing to part with the item but would like to share designs and patterns. Pictures of Ritual Breads (Korovai, Pasky etc.) are greatly appreciated since these items are highly perishable.
The UHSC Ukrainian Library houses a collection of many rare artifacts along with a collection of over 5,000 volumes of Ukrainian books. A video loan library is also available for teachers and organizations.
The Ukrainian Heritage Museum
The Ukrainian Heritage Museum is an on-campus museum is dedicated to preserving Ukrainian artifacts and culture. The museum is part of the Ukrainian Heritage Studies Center.
The renovations to the Ukrainian Heritage Museum was made possible due to significant contributions of Leonard & Helen Mazur, Dr. Barbara Zajak and the Ukrainian Catholic Foundation. The museum has a new design from floor to ceiling which includes beautiful lighting, a handmade Ukrainian stove, crystal clear showcases a welcoming layout and is home to a new exhibit, the Maria Mazur Gallery. The Maria Mazur Gallery is a exquisite, handmade pysanky gallery crafted by Leonard Mazur’s mother, Maria Mazur. All are invited to come and explore the Ukrainian Heritage Museum; please call 215 -885-2360 to make an appointment.
The UHSC in conjunction with Manor’s Adult & Continuing Education department conducts active outreach programs through tours of the folk art collection, workshops, presentations, and traveling demonstrations for various community organizations, schools, and festivals. Workshops in pysanky provide an opportunity to learn about Ukrainian traditions while creating a pysanky using the ancient techniques. For further information or to schedule a presentation contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-885-2360 ext. 293
Artifact of the Month
Replica of a Ukrainian House at Christmas – Watch the video here.
This month our artifact of the month is a replica of a house in a Ukrainian village as it would look on Christmas Eve. It was crafted by Mrs. Vera Tryciecky a master artist in pysanky and ceramics. Mrs. Tryciecky has been involved with the Ukrainian Heritage Studies Center since it was established in 1977.
Christmas Eve is a day of strict fasting – no meat or dairy products are permitted. This commemorates the hardships Mary faced on this day. On Christmas Eve children watch for the first star to appear. That is the signal that the Christmas Eve Supper may begin.
The table has been set with many special items. The kolach in the center of the table is a braided bread. It consists of three braided rings stacked on top of each other with a candle in the middle. The three braids symbolize the trinity and the circular shape – eternity.
In some areas the kolach is a long braided bread and in this case symbolizes the newborn Jesus. It is placed on a white cloth with a little bit of straw under the cloth as it was in the manger.
There is always an extra place setting for those members of the family who are no longer with us.
In some areas a clove of garlic is placed on three corners of the table. One to keep away illness, one to keep away gossip and the third to keep away all other evil. The fourth corner is empty to allow all good to enter.
To start the meal the head of the household brings in the didukh – a sheaf of wheat. The stalks of grain symbolize all the ancestors of the family, and it is believed that their spirits reside in it during the holidays. The didukh is placed in the corner under the icons.
He then leads the family in prayer and distributes the prosfora to each family member while wishing them all good things for the coming year. The prosfora is a ritual bread which has been blessed. Often at this point the family sings a Christmas Carol and sits down for the meal.
Christmas Eve Supper consists of twelve meatless and dairy free dishes. The dishes vary from region to region.
Kutia is a dish that is served in all areas of Ukraine. It consists of boiled wheat, poppy seeds, honey and sometimes raisins and nuts. It is known as God’s food.
One spoonful of kutia is flung at the ceiling. If the kutia adheres the coming year will bring a good harvest and good luck.
After the supper the family sings Christmas Carols and all go to midnight liturgy.
A bowl of kutia is left on the table for the family’s ancestors.
Animals are fed well because it is believed that at midnight on Christmas Eve the animals can talk.
On Christmas Day and the rest of the holiday season Koliadnyky (Carolers) travel from house to house singing traditional carols and wishing each household health, prosperity and all good things for the coming year.
Christ is Born!
To learn more about Ukrainian Christmas Customs go to:
If you missed the concert of “Koliadnyky” last year, you can hear some of their music here: