If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly
Today in history

Scythians are creators of embroidery art

Scythians are creators of embroidery art - e-history.kz
Every year on the third Thursday of May, Ukrainians and friends of Ukraine around the world celebrate Embroidery Day.

Embroidery is one of the most important symbols of national identity for Ukrainians.

Traditionally, on this day, people come to the place of work or study in the most recognizable element of the Ukrainian national costume - in embroidery. Festive parades and flash mobs in support of the Ukrainian culture are also held around the world.

On this occasion, the Embassy of Ukraine in Qazaqstan organized a festive event and demonstrated a 30-meter woven towel, embroidered by Pereyaslav masters.

It is worth noting that representatives of the Ukranian cultural centers in Qazaqstan, such as “The Society of Ukrainians “Oberig”, the Ukrainian Sunday School “Rіdne Slovo” and the youth wing of “Charivni Djerela” joined the celebration of the Embroidery Day.

This year, Embroidery Day was celebrated on May 16th.

Embroidery Day was created by students from Chernovcov in 2006.

The girl Lesya Voronyuk drew attention to the embroidery, in which one of her groupmates often attended classes and an idea to come to the University, wearing such embroidered shirts came to her mind. She and her groupmates decided what day it would be and realized the idea. The idea liked so much to people around that the next year it was supported by students from other Universities, secondary schools’ and colleges’ students and others.   

In 2010, the holiday was celebrated not only in Chernovcov, but also in Zaporozhye, Lviv, Simferopol, and Rovno. Very soon it spread further throughout the territory of Ukraine, and later the Ukrainian diaspora, living abroad started celebration of this Day.

To coordinate and organize holiday events a Special Organization Committee was created in 2014. A year later, the celebration was supported at the governmental level by the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine. Now the Embroidery Day is celebrated by large diasporas in such countries, as Canada, USA, Italy, Germany, France, Romania, Portugal.

Embroidery is a traditional East Slavic embroidery or a shirt with such embroidery.

Embroidered clothing in Ukraine has been known since ancient times. Ancient historians argued that the first to cover clothes with embroidered patterns were the Scythians. (The “Scythians” were the ancient Iranian-speaking people, that inhabited the territory of modern Ukraine between VIII century BC. - IV century AD.)

Probably from them, this tradition has passed to people, who lived in Tripoli. An embroidery served not only as a decoration: its patterns were guard against an evil eye and all evil for its owner. Therefore, firstly, the collar and chest were embroidered - it is believed that the human soul was there, and the embroidery was supposed to protect it. Old Ukrainian warriors wore embroidered shirts under their chain armor with a belief that they would protect them in battles.

Generally, to embroider a pattern on a shirt was a female prerogative. Usually women at work sang special songs or read magic words. Some scientists believe that embroidery really had a certain bioenergy field that had a positive effect on a person - after all, the masters put a lot of good feelings into their works.

Embroidery was worn on holidays, in church, at a wedding or a party. Women had a tradition to give embroidery to men. For example, mothers gave it to sons, sisters to brothers, girls to their boy-friends.

Over time, the Ukrainian national costume has changed. In the XVII-XVIII centuries the industrial revolution in Europe dramatically changed manufacturing practices. Ukrainian clothes had been transformed thanks to new fabrics, cut elements and finishing techniques. In the 19th century, a wealthy urban population began to wear European clothes, and people, who lived in rural areas continued to put on traditional clothes.

In the XIXth century, a great contribution to the popularization of embroidery was made by the Ukrainian writer and politician Ivan Franko. He lived in a very splendid style and was famous for his love for the Ukrainian national dress. It is believed that Ivan Franko gave rise to the trend of wearing an embroidered shirt with a European suit. It was like he wanted to tell the world, that Ukraine was ready to accept European rules and standards, but deep down it would always keep and respect its own traditions and customs.

It is also important to note the fact that world-famous designers like Jean-Paul Gauthier, John Galliano, Gucci, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana successfully use fragments of Ukrainian embroidery in their collections.

Details and themes of embroidery are unique for each historical region of Ukraine.

On the whole, there are three types of Ukrainian embroidery. They are: geometric, vegetable and zoomorphic (animals).

Embroidered signs of fire were traditionally considered to be masculine - it is a diamond pattern, signs of the sun with rays and dots. But the straight lines were considered to be female. Also on such embroidered shirts were depicted signs of water in the form of spirals, snakes or waves.

In ancient times, a passer-by could easily read the necessary information on embroidery: where the person came from, what desires he or she had!