Ukrainian Embroidery: Traditions, Ornaments and Symbols

Ukrainian National Dress

Every May in Ukraine, people celebrate the Day of Ukrainian embroidered shirt - "Vyshyvanka". So I decided to tell my foreign friends what the symbols mean in our national dress and what its history is.

I`m sure you will agree that the Ukrainian shirt is incredibly beautiful and stylish. All over the world, we have already appreciated our shirt, and eminent designers include embroidery elements in their collections.

Now, buying a shirt, we do not think about color and ornaments. But our ancestors had a varied wardrobe for every occasion of life!

Here we come to the traditions of wearing Ukrainian embroidery. Earlier, each vyshyvanka was embroidered by hand, now for this purpose embroidery machines are used in factories, which greatly simplifies the process.

Each of our ancestors had to have a white shirt. Even the poorest Ukrainians had a white festive shirt, not necessary the shining white, but surely bright.

Often in the Ukrainian families in the trunk, you could find shirts of unbleached linen. This kind of embroidery had a gray or cream tint and was a sign of average prosperity.

The red color symbolized love, happiness, and fun. Such shirts were worn in most cases by young girls and women who carried happiness and joy.

Black embroidery, as you might guess, symbolized grief and unhappiness. Often our ancestors put it on for a funeral, but in some regions, Ukraine it was worn by old men.

In the villages, it was possible to meet on the street of young girls in blue embroideries. This color was a symbol of purity and it was worn by girls who are still far from marriage.

It is worth recalling that embroidery is not only a colorful piece of clothing but for us, Ukrainians, it is a real charm.

Red is the symbol of the sun. It was believed that such embroideries give the person energy and protect the lowest chakra responsible for the musculoskeletal system, rectum, and genitourinary system. True, amazing ?! What profound meaning our great-grandfathers put in their clothes. Now the world has changed, we, in pursuit of convenience, put on the first pair of jeans on hand and we do not care what color they are.

The black color we mentioned, but not always such a shade was associated with sadness. For example, in Ternopil region, black embroidery symbolized land and fertility. Such a shirt gave strength to a man for the continuation of the race.

Blue itself was considered the strongest amulet. And it is not surprising, because these are the colors of water and sky, the interweaving of spiritual and physical strength. It is protection against illnesses and bad weather. Blue embroidery protected the most vulnerable - children and men. But why the representatives of the stronger sex, you will ask ... It's simple: after all, it was men who were the breadwinners in the family and were often endangered. Also, blue embroidery protects the sixth chakra, located in the area of the "third eye" and responsible for the human intellect.

But the blue color, although similar to the blue, protects the fifth chakra, which is responsible for sight and hearing (creative abilities).

Yellow. What associations does it cause you? Most immediately remembered the wheat field, the sun, honey or sunflowers - the gifts of nature. So it's easy to guess that yellow is the color of wealth and wealth. It protects the third chakra - the solar plexus, the center of vital energy.

Ornaments on Ukrainian embroidery

Let's now talk about ornaments. Of course, they are very many, but we will consider the most basic and popular ones.

In total, in Ukrainian embroidery, there are three types: geometric, plant and zoomorphic (animals).

Embroidered fire signs have traditionally been considered masculine - a lattice in the form of a diamond, the signs of the sun with rays and dots.

But straight lines in the form of landmarks were considered female. Also on such embroideries depicted water signs in the form of spirals, snakes, and waves.

And finally, I will tell you about the most popular patterns - flowers and grapes.

So, poppies embroidered on a shirt to protect from evil, because this flower symbolizes the continuation of the genus. But also poppy is a flower of war. And if a man died in the family during the fighting, his wife embroidered a shirt with red poppies.

Kalina was seen on embroidered women in married women. And all because it is a symbol of motherhood and the immortality of the family. Children did not wear shirts with this pattern.

Hop. Shirts with this pattern were worn by single men because it is a symbol of violence, love, and youth. I think you have already guessed that married men such embroideries bypassed the party.

Grapes on a white shirt symbolized the joy and well-being of family life. This Ukrainian dress was popular among residents of Poltava and Kiev. But in Chernigov, the vine was only embroidered on tablecloths and towels.

Just imagine that in the old days of embroidering a passer-by could easily read the necessary information: where does the person come from, what is his fate and desires! Now very few people when buying shirts pay attention to such details, in most cases we get what our eyes are cute.

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