INDIANAPOLIS — Thursday was Vyshyvanka Day, a Ukrainian Holiday celebrated around the world to preserve the country's clothing, culture, people, and history.
This year, there's even more to be proud of, as Ukrainian soldiers fight against the Russian invasion.
"The Ukainian embroidered shirt is a really big element of Ukrainian culture. It's one of the key elements to the ethno-genetic code of our nation," Svitlana Ramer, president of the Ukrainian Society of Indiana, said. "If we don't celebrate our culture, our history, if we don't affirm ourselves as Ukrainian, then what are Ukrainians even fighting and dying for?"
The society organized a get-together for Ukrainians in Central Indiana on Vyshyvanka Day. The group gathered at Bier Brewery on 65th, a brewery that has supported Ukrainians in the past.
"Embroidery has traditionally been a really big craft in Ukrainian culture. Each region has a color and a pattern that represents it. It can mean love, death, fertility, the land, honoring the ancestors, so each design has some symbolism behind it," Ramer said.
Even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy donned a vyshyvanka for a national address on Facebook. He wished for a brave and free Ukraine - the vyshyvanka standing as a symbol of resistance to the Russian invasion.
Nearly three months into the war, Urainian Vitaliy Kyryk says a celebratory day is needed.
"It's a piece of shining light. It's a way for us to have something happy, dress up, celebrate, get together and talk about Ukrainian heritage and culture," he said.
Kyryk also serves on the board at the Ukrainian Society of Indiana, and said he sees other light on the horizon. He begun to feel optimistic about the situation on the ground.
"I think initially the world didn't think Ukraine could stand its ground as much as it did, and in the first few weeks, we proved that we can stand up to Russia," he said.
As much as the world may have been taken aback by the Ukrainian fortitude, Ramer and Kyryk say, it didn't surprise them at all.
"Ukraine has been withstanding Russian oppression for centuries," Ramer said. "We know what's at stake. So we are not surprised at how hard people are fighting against it."
The Ukrianian Society of Indiana has upcoming events. You can find more information on their website.
- June 25: USI's Booth at the Carmel Farmers Market
- June 29: Ukrainian Day Festival at Indy City Market
- July 9: Ukrainian Day Celebration at Global Village Welcome Center
- August 27: Ukraine's Independence Day at the Latvian Community Center