Ukraine is in the hearts and minds of 44 million people who live in this beautiful, bountiful, naturally landscaped country and are proud of their ancestry and rich heritage. Physically Ukraine is endowed with numerous streams, ponds, brooks, valleys, meadows, parks, and forests. Twenty five states, which include the autonomous region of Crimea, constitute the territorial formation of this central European country. Its cities boost of green belts, clean environs, wide streets and beautiful boulevards lined with chestnut trees. Ukraine has lush green Carpathian mountain range on its North-West border, majestic rivers Dnipro, Dniester, Desna and others flow through different regions. The Sea of Azov and The Black Sea further add on to magnificent natural charms of Ukraine. Apart from geographical-historical existence of Ukraine it is present in hundreds of interesting, exciting manifestations. Some of them find their expression in the following text.
Ukraine is in the smiles, laughs, twinkles, naughtiness, plays and activities of millions of children who are born in Ukraine and grow up there.
The tiny tots of toddlers, lusty cries and shrieks of infants, the hesitating first steps, babies’ mumbled-jumbled first words, the shine of the eyes, the dimpled cheeks of Ukrainian children all are reflections of Ukraine.
Thousands of young couples who exchange their wedding vows in traditional Ukrainian style every year are living proof of age-old customs and social mores. The country side marriages that are celebrated in the rich Ukrainian manner with gaiety and joy confirm the continuity of ethnic way of life in all its colors and glory. This is where we find the depth and breadth of Ukrainian culture that absorbs the new with the preservation of the old. And Ukraine thrives on such celebrations.
The fragrant aroma of tasty and nutritious Borsch-the national soup; the soft, melting delight of Varenya (Jam); Varenikiy - the much loved dough dumplings with fillings; juicy, sumptuous meat and fish preparations; mellifluous, delicious, mouth watering confectionaries, the tangy thirst quencher Kvas and so many other tantalizing dishes and preparations are where one can find the gastronomical Ukraine.
It is in the wrinkled yet graceful faces of Grandmas, Grandpas whose prayers, warmth, tears, affection, wishes and selfless love fill every Ukrainian family with rejoice, blessings, and protect them from evils, mishaps and wrongs.
Ukraine is in the thoughts, impressions, memories, experiences of millions of men, women, children who have a Ukrainian lineage but now live in different parts of the world. In USA, Canada, Australia, countries of European Union, Asian countries and so on. Most of these expatriates maintain close ties with their erstwhile motherland and proudly display the beauty, richness and sophistication of Ukrainian culture in foreign lands.
It is in the hopes, ambitions and aspirations of millions of Ukrainians who are building their country after catastrophic Soviet rule of seven decades; who have hounded out tyrants like ex President Viktor Yanukovich for betrayal of Ukrainian values and democratic principles; who are valiantly fighting the evil aggression of Russia and showing to the world that Ukrainians resolve of protecting their sovereignty has not diminished one bit and their patriotism is unquestionable.
Ukraine is in the richness and vastness of its folklore that has supplemented and augmented the native wisdom over the centuries. It has huge collection of stories, tales that are full of ideals, ethics and morals. The tome of folk beliefs, sayings, and notions are informative, relevant and useful even today for their practical knowledge and insights.
Ukraine can be heard in its harmonious, musical language which has been deemed to be one of the best in the world for its sweetness, softness and intonation.
It can be felt in its various festivals, fairs, exhibitions, pageants that are heartily and joyously celebrated round the year. Prominent among them is Ivanna Kupala (a festival for young and recently married) held on 7th of July, Den Mykolaiv (children’s festival) celebrated on 19th of December, Sviyata Trietsya (The Trinity), Den Nezalejhnosti (The Independence Day) commemorated on 24th of August annually.
It is in creative works of scientists, engineers, researchers who enrich the world by their inventions, technological advances and medical breakthroughs. Their innovations, solutions enhance the quality of life and make living simpler, easier, and happier.
Ukraine is in the great forts, magnificent churches, aesthetic cathedrals, and architecturally wondrous historical buildings that have been constructed over the last two thousand years since the times of Tripilska civilization which dates back to more than 3000 years and is the precursor to modern day Kyiv and Ukraine.
It is in the vast steppes with endless Sunflower fields and rich fertile lands that generously provide nature’s bounty in the form of life-sustaining agricultural output and farm produce.
Ukraine is in the juicy apples, saucy berries, vineyards and other fruits that dot the entire country and provides Mother Nature’s rich bounty to its inhabitants and to all visitors/travelers who happen to be in Ukraine during the time of late spring and start of summer season (April – June).
It is in the professionalism, dedication and ardent work orientation of millions of workers, factory employees, miners, office-goers, staff, machinists, operators and so many others.
It is in the theatrics, gestures, movement, body flow, curves and curls of artists, drama personas, musicians, composers, actors, junior artistes, novices, debutantes and hundreds of such people.
It is in the art and craft of its painters, sculptors, designers who astound everyone with the novelty, freshness, and uniqueness of their works/creations.
It is in the voice and songs of Taras Petrenko, Nazariy Yaremchuk, Kvitka Cisyk, Ruslana, Tina Karol, Jamala, Viktor Pavlik, Oleg Skrypka and numerous others. Ukraine is in the words and enchanting lyrics of Volodomyr Ivasyuk, Lina Kostenko and hundreds of other poets, song writers.
Ukraine can be read, comprehended and understood in the great literary works of Taras Shevchenko (the national hero and literary icon of Ukraine), Lesya Ukrainka, Ivan Franko, Vasyl Stus, Volodomyr Syusura, and hundreds of equally talented writers, authors, poets and dramatists. The modern day contemporaries are no less illustrious and bring out multi-faceted portraits of life and Ukraine in their works. Some leading names of 21st century Ukrainian authors include Sergiy Zhadan, Iren Rozdobudko, Yuriy Androkhovich, Kateryna Babkina, Tanya Geletyuk . . . . . .
It is in the love, compassion, kindness and sacrifice of the likes of Lyubomyr Guzar, the Archbishop of Ukrainian Orthodox church.
Ukraine is in the lovely and elegant Vyshevankey – the beautiful traditional embroidered native attire of Ukraine men, women and children since historical times. As of today Vyshevankey have regained its glory and reclaimed its rightful place as proud symbol of unique ethnic identity of Ukrainians worldwide.
The sensitivity, service, and smiles of hundreds of volunteers who perform untiring selfless service at the border front of Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression epitomize Ukraine.
Ukraine can be seen and heard through independent, thoughtful, analytical media that through its various channels (TV broadcast, Online, FM radio, etc.) professionally and competently informs the world of the developments, events occurring in Ukraine while simultaneously keeping Ukrainians connected to the major happenings around the globe.
It is in the dedication to service of teachers, who through their personal examples and conduct instill love for Ukraine, impart knowledge and develop humane values in children and students.
It can be observed in the regained health that hundreds of sick, diseased and old patients get through the untiring efforts of competent, capable and well trained Doctors, Nurses and medical and para-medical staff.
It can be felt in the shine of medals, prizes, awards, trophies that talented, skilled, proficient, high performing Ukrainian athletes and sport-persons consistently win.
It is in the bravery and courage of millions of Ukrainians who are fighting an unnecessarily imposed war on them by Russians.
It is in the national anthem ‘Sche ne vemerla Ukraina’ (Ще не вмерла Україна ні слава, ні воля), the lovable blue-yellow national flag, and the state emblem, “The Trident” (Тризуб).
Ukraine is there where we want it to be - In our hearts and minds always.
Ukraine is the embodiment of lovely people, even lovelier children and loving elders who are simple, decent, graceful, considerate folks.
Among other things Ukraine is located in Central East Europe, in the southeastern part of the East European Plains, between 44 "20 'and 52" 20' north latitude and 22 "5" and 41 "15 'east longitude. On its East is Russia, Belarus is on its North and Poland, Moldova, Hungary Romania, Slovakia are its neighbors on the West. Interestingly enough its village “Dilove” situated in Western region in the state of Zakarpathey is supposedly the ‘Geographic centre of European continent’. This is the cartographic location of Ukraine on the global map of planet earth but on a more emotional level, Ukraine is in the minds, thoughts, and plans of millions of Ukrainians (and not only) who live here, grow up, work, meet their better halves, make love, raise families, turn old, become grandpas/grandmas and pass on the baton of life to the next generation who as much experience the joys, sorrows, and fruits of living in this naturally endowed beautiful, wonderful country.
Finally Ukraine is in my heart. As a person who has lived more than a decade in Ukraine, travelled to various corners of this lovely country, met thousands of people from all walks of life, the simplicity, magnanimity, virtuosity of Ukrainians in actions, estimations, discussions, conversations, and in emotions is overwhelming. Their friendliness, hospitality and disarming attitude (witnessed and felt, especially during both the revolutions – the Orange one of 2004 and the 2013-14 of Dignity, where Ukrainians displayed not only the above qualities but a fierce passion for freedom, and natural love for humane values, democratic principles and self respect) has touched the very core of the heart and shown me the kindler and benevolent side of humanity. I am more than happy to have spent 10 years in such environ with compassionate people and consider myself fortunate to have experienced Ukrainian warmth, love, help, support and encouragement at all times and in all forms, personally, socially, professionally and spiritually.
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