Ukrainian borscht is a traditional dish that is cooked with broth combined with beetroot, sugar beet or fermented beet juice. There are many versions, and the practice entails the recipe, cooking method and occasion, according to which a certain variety is prepared. Borscht is cooked in a large pan or pot and typically served with bread or garlic buns. It is prepared primarily by women, although many men also prepare it as an everyday dish. The practice dates back centuries and is passed on within families, with children participating in the preparation. An expression of hospitality, Ukrainian borscht unites people of all ages, genders and backgrounds at the table. It is also used in ritual practices, such as in the region of Podillia, where the third day of the wedding has maintained its ritual name do nevistky – na borshch, meaning ‘visit daughter-in-law to eat borscht’. It is lauded in tales, folk songs and proverbs and viewed as a lifestyle and identity marker. The viability of the element, however, is threatened by various factors since the beginning of the armed conflict in February 2022, including the displacement of bearers from their communities of origin and from the cultural contexts necessary for the cooking and consumption of borscht in Ukraine. Moreover, destruction to the surrounding environment and traditional agriculture has prevented communities from accessing local products, such as vegetables, needed to prepare the dish. Despite these difficulties, communities across Ukraine have united around the element.
Örnek is a Ukrainian system of symbols and their meanings, currently used in embroidery, weaving, pottery, engraving, jewellery, wood carving, and glass and wall painting. The symbols are arranged to create a narrative composition. The Crimean Tatar communities understand the meaning of the symbols and often commission artisans to create certain compositions with specific meanings. Geometric ornaments are primarily used in weaving, whereas floral ornaments are used in all other folk crafts, including those not traditionally practised by Crimean Tatars, such as glass painting, wall painting or canvas wall art. Common symbols include plants and trees, symbolizing people of different genders and ages. There are around thirty-five symbols in total, each with its unique meaning and connotations. For instance, a rose symbolizes a married woman, a poplar or cypress symbolizes an adult man, a tulip symbolizes a young man, and an almond symbolizes an unmarried woman or girl. A carnation symbolizes an older person, wisdom and life experience. The symbolism of the floral ornaments is always emphasized by the unique colour palette and symbol combinations. For instance, a tulip within a rose symbolizes the love or union of a man and a woman. Many symbols are used as protective charms. The associated knowledge and skills are transmitted by skilled artisans within families and communities, in informal contexts such as embroidery classes, and in formal contexts such as universities.
The tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics – which include dishes, ceremonial items, toys and tiles – arose in the 18th century, reaching its golden age in the mid-19th century. The products are made using local grey clay, watered with a white clay of creamy texture; when dried, they are painted using a metal stick scratching technique to form a graphical contour drawing. They are then fired and painted with metal oxides to produce the traditional green and yellow colors, an indispensable feature of the ceramics. Sometimes, masters add a little cobalt, but not so much as to lose the traditional colouring. During the firing, the green dye spreads to create the watercolour effect, usually called ‘tears’. The main feature of Kosiv ceramics is the figurative design of the ornament. The plot motif expresses the history, life, folklore, beliefs and customs of the Hutsuls, and surrounding flora and fauna. The ceramics are used in everyday life and have a practical and artistic value. Masters work in family workshops and small craft workshops and the practice constitutes an identity marker and sign of affiliation with the community. The Department of Art Ceramics of Kosiv College ensures the continuity of generations of masters and bearers and has a special responsibility for sustaining the tradition, preserving the traditional technological cycle (potter’s wheels, clay, tools and pottery kilns).
Cossack songs are sung by communities of the Dnipropetrovsk region which tell stories about the tragedy of war but also the personal relationships of Cossack soldiers. Singers practise the tradition in three different groups: Krynycya, Boguslavochka and Pershocvit. The songs are sung for pleasure and so practitioners can have a connection to the past – their ancestors and their community’s history. Many of the singers, both men and women, are aged in their 70s and 80s and have been involved in the practice for most of their lives. The groups operate around two main performers: the first who has knowledge of all the song lyrics starts the singing, then the second begins (in an upper voice), followed by the rest of the group (with middle and lower voices). If male singers are not present in the group, women impersonate them by deepening their voices. The singers normally meet regularly and while not requiring an audience, may sometimes give a concert. It is a tradition that is transmitted within families where younger members learn from those more experienced, but its continuity is now in question due to an aging bearer population and the sparsity of other knowledge sources for new generations to learn from.
The people of the village of Petrykivka decorate their living quarters, household belongings and musical instruments with a style of ornamental painting that is characterized by fantastic flowers and other natural elements, based on careful observation of the local flora and fauna. This art is rich in symbolism: the rooster stands for fire and spiritual awakening, while birds represent light, harmony and happiness. In folk belief, the paintings protect people from sorrow and evil. Local people, and in particular women of all ages, are involved in this folk art tradition. Every family has at least one practitioner, making decorative painting an integral part of daily existence in the community. The painting traditions, including the symbolism of the ornamental elements, are transferred, renewed and enhanced from one generation to another. Local schools at all levels, from pre-school to college, teach the fundamentals of Petrykivka decorative painting, with all children given the opportunity to study it. The community willingly teaches its skills and know-how to anyone who shows an interest. The tradition of decorative and applied arts contributes to the renewal of historical and spiritual memory and defines the identity of the entire community.
Date of Inscription:
Inscribed in 2013 (8.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity