Tag Archives: Ukrainian

Ukrainian – Reuse Of Food Storage Containers

Informant’s Background:

My informant, AK, is a undergraduate student at the University of Southern California. He is a first-generation immigrant, and the child of Ukrainian and Russian parents.

Context:

I am a close friend of AK. I asked him if he had any folklore he could share and this was what he gave me.

Performance:

AK: “I guess like you can make a story out of this, but essentially, like, my whole life, when I try and get food from my parents or my grandma or my grandpa and like I come over as a guest or something and they want to cook me food or something they like put it-like every Russian… uhm, and Ukrainian like puts this, like does this, so say like I want some food that you made or I’m offering you some food that I made, like (*laughs*) I don’t give it to you in Tupperware. I give it to you, like I give you some Russian soup in some like old yoghurt container that like I bought, that literally had my yoghurt in it and like now I’m using it as a container to put other food in it and store other food in it. Obviously like its washed, uhm, before like any other different new food is put in it, but it’ll be like a yoghurt container but what will actually be inside will actually be some like, uhm, leek soup or something. And that’s like pretty typical like classic Russian stuff that you’ll get. More so with older generations, I don’t think like anyone who’s Russian or Ukrainian now would do that.”

Informant’s Thoughts:

AK: “I think the reason why is that there was just a time, in Russia, where you had to be really resourceful, uhm, and that’s because of World War 2, and like, I don’t know, just when there was winter and stuff and you kind of have to bunker down and just use what you have, and like no one was really rich in Russia uhm back then, there was a lot less rich people, and a lot more poor people that were like struggling and stuff. So a lot of people were resourceful, and I think that just like became embedded into like their-their DNA and their way of life. And so it just bleeds through in this small little funny way.”

Thoughts:

I think AK explained this quite well. This example demonstrates how people adapt their way of lives to the times that they grew up in, and to the situations that surround them. In this case, this resourcefulness is likely no longer necessary in the case of AK’s relatives, due to better living conditions, and the lack of a harsh winter to diminish resources, yet the traditional way of life the person grew up with is still performed, even if it will not carry on to AK’s way of life.

Ukrainian WW2 Joke

Informant’s Background:

The informant, in this case, is my father, F, who was a first generation immigrant born to an Ukrainian/Scottish family in Canada in 1950. His family was poor and working class, and he lived in Canada for many years before attending schools in England, and eventually moving back to Canada before moving with my mother to Los Angeles, in the United States, so she could take a job as a university professor. My brother and I were born a few years after.

Context:

My father told me this joke at dinner once. He asked me if I wanted to hear a Ukrainian joke and I said sure.

Performance:

F: “You are a Ukrainian soldier in the trenches, the Germans coming from one side, the Russians from the other. Who do you shoot first?
Answer:  The German.  Business before pleasure.”

Thoughts:

I think this is probably considered an offensive joke. It has a certain historical context, I suppose, but my father never provided any of his own thoughts on the joke, so all I can really do is to provide the joke in it’s original form. I do not think my father learned this joke from his father, I think he probably picked it up somewhere later in life. I tried to search online for traces of this joke, and I was able to find it but with the Ukrainian soldier replaced with a Polish one, so I guess it is re-told in that way and adopted by different cultures with a similar wartime history.

Ukrainian Eggs

Description of Informant

NM (49) is a Massachusetts native living in California. He commits to a regular exercise routine and owns/operates a metal decking supply firm. NM enjoys strategy games, world news/current events, and participates in a weekly chess match with friends.

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Context of Interview

The informant, NM, is met in his garden by the collector, BK, his nephew. They speak poolside.

Interview

BK: How about folk objects? Often these are handmade crafts, with a long tradition.

NM: Well, my mother is almost a professional Ukrainian egg [maker]. You’ve seen her eggs?

BK: Can you speak to those a little bit?

NM: I think she picked that up completely on her own. It was not something her family did. I think one of her friends introduced her to it. But yeah, I mean, the way it works is you’ve got these small little, little scooping tools that you heat up in a candle, scoop up a little bit of wax. And then if the metal of the scooper is heated up there’s a small pin for coal at the other end of the scoop. So then you’re drawing on an egg with that melted wax in a pattern, and then you’d dye-in a particular column. Let’s say you wanted to dye it blue, and then you wanted to heat up your little tool, the wax melts, and color in the triangle [with wax] that you wanted to remain blue. Then you’re dipping again in another color, so you’re losing whatever didn’t get covered in wax. 

NM: So you’re starting off, you know, there’s some planning obviously going on if you’re– if the base color, the whole thing is red, you started with the red egg, and then you’ll have to cover the whole egg with wax and leave a couple [sections open to be re-dyed]. Yeah, like I know [my mother] has one that’s like red, white, and black. So she would have needed to make parts that she wanted to stay white. Make that design. Dip the whole thing in red. Then color all that in, in, in wax to keep the red and then leave little strips if she wanted those black and then dip that last bit in black. 

NM: That’s my basic understanding but she’d do it with a full egg, not hard-boiled. And then after it was the way you wanted it, you would take this little contraption that would poke a hole in the bottom and suck out the goop, and put a shellac on it. And then hope the cat doesn’t jump up on the table and knock the basket onto the ground and break them all. Because it happened a couple times.

BK: Oh my gosh, how long would one take to make?

NM: Yeah, I mean, it depends on the time she had. But I think if you were dedicated to it on just the weekends. Yeah, weeks. Yeah, cuz it’s, I think, yeah, because it’s slow. It’s kind of slow work getting the wax. And they would actually, my sister would know, too, because they both did it. But my mom was, you know, [my sister is] pretty good at it, too. But my mom was really good at it. And I was little, so I wasn’t really ever paying attention to how long it took. But I think it would take a while. And maybe she’d have a couple going at once, where you’d get a basic pattern going. And what made it easier, were a lot of thick, elastic, rubber bands, so that you could create, you know, you put a thick elastic rubber band around, then you would have a guide that you could follow with your wax. So I think that helped a lot in some of the patterns. But it’s still very time-consuming. I don’t know if that’s big in New England or if she just took a little class on Ukrainian egg making.

Collector’s Reflection

The process of Ukrainian egg making is laborious and time-consuming, but the end result is more than beautiful. Their traditional nature adds to their value, but NM’s mother’s involvement calls the value into question. As NM mentions, his mother “picked up” Ukrainian egg making. Their family is mostly Irish; this was not a tradition that was “theirs” or passed down. So, are her Ukrainian eggs still “valid”? 

In the case study of the New Mexican Natives selling traditional jewelry at the portal, the courts decided that such “appropriation” would not be supported or protected. But in that case, non-natives were looking to sell native-passing works. NM’s mother does not sell her eggs, though she may gift them. Though I, a non-Ukrainian, take no issue with her hobbyist involvement, I am curious to hear a Ukrainian perspective.

Pictured Below: Two of NM’s Mother’s Ukrainian Eggs

Ukrainian Wedding Tradition

The following is transcribed from an interview between me and interviewee, referred to as MT. 

MT: In my country, when someone wants to get married to a girl, they have to first barter for her with her neighborhood, essentially. Usually the neighborhood people ask for booze and money and then in exchange they’ll let her go and give her to him. 

Me: So do potential grooms actually end up going and meeting the neighborhood people’s demands for their brides?

MT: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, at this point it’s usually pretend, like, not serious but because it’s tradition we have to do it, you know? So usually the guy will just go and the neighborhood will play pretend like you have to give me stuff and at this point it’s just an excuse to get some booze and get excited for the wedding. Although, I have seen a neighborhood take it seriously one time and the guy had to actually go home and get money because the neighborhood wouldn’t let her go! 

Me: And why do they do the bartering before the wedding?

MT: Well, the neighborhood is losing a person so it’s like they should get something in return, you know? And it’s also a way to test and see how much the groom wants her like what she’s worth to him. 

Me: What if someone wants to marry her from the same neighborhood, though?

MT: Oh, no matter what they’ll make the guys barter for her. So even if they’re from the same neighborhood, they’ll then separate it by streets and he’ll barter with the people on her street. If they’re on the same street, he’ll have to barter with the family type of stuff. It’s just tradition. 

Background:

Interviewee, MT, is from LViv, Ukraine. His family is from a village called Rodatichi in Ukraine. He immigrated to America at age 13, but returns home for occasions. He has lived in Sherman Oaks, CA for the rest of his life thus far and has been happily married to my mom for 11 years. He has been to numerous weddings and seen this wedding tradition happen all growing up.

Context: 

This interview was conducted over lunch at our family home, so it was very casual. He has many stories about the customs of his country that he usually shares with me so it was just like any number of our usual conversations. 

Thoughts:

There are many versions of these wedding customs, but what I found interesting is that this specific tradition of bartering for the wife is unique to his region in Ukraine. Even in the Eastern part of the country, there are wildly different traditions but they all seem to center around the idea of testing the man of his dedication to the wife. I think this is interesting because in
America, we don’t have many of these traditions where a man has to truly win and earn his bride. It is also very interesting how much variation there is within this custom as far as what the neighborhood people ask for, whether or not the groom actually has to give it to them, and whether he is bartering with the whole neighborhood or just her family. 

Ukrainian Lover has been Stood Up Song

Main Piece: Ukranian Lover’s Song

Original:

Ти казала в понедiлок – пiдем разом по барвiнок. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у вiвторок – поцiлую разiв сорок. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, Ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у середу – пiдем разом по череду. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у четвер – пiдем разом на концерт. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у п’ятницю – пiдем разом по пшеницю. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у суботу – пiдем разом на роботу. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у недiлю – пiдем разом на весiлля. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Phonetic:

Ty kazala v ponedilok – pidem razom po barvinok. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u vivtorok – potsiluyu raziv sorok. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, Ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u seredu – pidem razom po cheredu. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u chetver – pidem razom na kontsert. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u p’yatnytsyu – pidem razom po pshenytsyu. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u subotu – pidem razom na robotu. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u nedilyu – pidem razom na vesillya. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.

Translation:

You told me on Monay – we’ll go together and pick flowers. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Tuesday, you’d kiss me forty times. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Wednesday, we’ll go together and pick berries. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Thrusday, we’ll go to the concert together. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Friday, we’ll go collect wheat together. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Saturday, we’ll go to work together. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Sunday, we’ll go together to the party. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

She would sing it with her friends when they were young.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

It’s a funny song about a girl who is a tease.

Context:

Often sung at parties, considered a traditional Ukranian folk song.

Personal Thoughts:

This song canbe sung by only women, or by men for half of it and women for the chorus. It is about a man who is constantly stood up by a girl he likes. For every day of the week, the girl promises to go on a date with him, and it drives him crazy that she never comes to the dates she sets up, but he clearly cannot stay away.

This song can be found in a popular Russian/Ukrainian TV Show “Svaty”:

Yakovlev, Andrey, director. Svaty. Kvartal 95 Studio, 2011.