Over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, a group of young druzhynnyky gathered
in a field in Tarasivka, Derbyshire to celebrate a wedding. This wasn't just any wedding though - the bride and groom
only found out they were getting married the night before and were introduced to their parents on the morning of their wedding…
This was CYM's (Ukrainian Youth Association's) second over-18s weekend camp. The original aim of the camp is to bring
back Ukrainian traditions to the third generation and, having celebrated Christmas in May last year, the druzhynnyky
had asked to celebrate a full traditional vesilya at this year’s event.
The young group of druzhynnyky organisers did not shy away from fitting in a packed program of traditions - from the
baking of the korovai, a divich vechir (where girls sang traditional songs and plaited barvinok wreathes), through to the
blessing of the bride and groom, Svatannya, negotiation at the brama, a full wedding ceremony and of course - a traditional
party/reception with 10 dishes chosen from across Ukraine, a perepiy, kolomiyka and the kidnapping of the bride.
Even the moloda para were chosen carefully - with girls competing in 'Bride Wars' to prove who would make the best zhinka.
The eventual winner - Oksana Demtschuk reigned supreme in the varenyky-making contest.
In and amongst the wedding planning, druzhynnyky participated in a number of workshops held by various guest speakers.
Following on from the recent World CYM Congress in America, Podruha Hania Szlachetko spoke to the taborovyky about their
role as druzhynnyky and how this can develop through self-education. Members of the AUGB executive committee
(Zenko Lastowieki – chairman and Petro Rewko) gave an in-depth account of how Ukrainians set up in the diaspora
and why it is important for third generation Ukrainians to become involved as well as how to do so. To add a dash
of celebrity to the weekend, author Anna Shevchenko, gave a fascinating presentation on her book Bequest. She tied
in the themes in her book and how it/they relates/relate to Ukrainians in the diaspora, and the quest for their
entitled heritage and traditions.
Though the druzhynnyky were left exhausted by their action-packed weekend, they left with a new sense of responsibility
- to themselves as
Ukrainians and Sumivtsi - to continue their education, and the traditions of Ukraine for generations to come.