Annual New Year's "Malanka" in Chicago
The annual New Year's Ball, "Malanka", of the Mykola Pavlushkov Branch of the American Ukrainian Youth Association in Chicago was held on Saturday, January 11, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Cityfront Center, located next to the Chicago River. Guests arrived at 6 pm for delicious hors d'oeuvres and cocktails in the foyer of the Chicago Ballroom. The traditional friendly and joyous atmosphere was at once evident as old and new friends greeted each other. As guests entered the hall, they were met with an elegant set up including some centerpieces provided by Mila Design Studio. Beautiful commemorative booklets compiled by podruha Olia Bozio, were included in the table setting. The celebration began at 7 pm when guests were seated and Master of Ceremonies, druh Bohdan Krutiak, greeted the 560 guests present.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of 14 lovely debutantes. Druh Krutiak introduced podruha Adia Striltshcuk, choreographer of the debutante presentation, to continue with the ceremonies. She addressed the debutantes expressing her pleasure in getting to know them better while preparing for this evening and wished them success and joy in the future. Guests then greeted the proud and beaming parents, who escorted their radiant daughters into the ballroom, followed by the handsome escorts. Each debutante was introduced with a brief description of activities and future plans, receiving the traditional sash and congratulations from the "bulavna" (Mariyka Pawlos) and president (Chrystya Wereszczak) of the Mykola Pavlushkov Branch, as well as the vice-president (Dr. Alex Striltschuk) of the Dmytro Vitovskyj Branch in Palatine. Their individual presentation ended with each of them greeting the guests with a deep and graceful bow.
Podruha Wereszczak then spoke, first greeting all of the guests and their families with warmest wishes for the coming New Year and then addressing the debutantes. Her remarks included an expression of joy and pride in the debutantes' accomplishments, their individual talents, beauty and grace, as well as the wish that "they be graced with happy and successful lives….that with their love for God and Ukraine, they will make a difference in the world while realizing their full potential…for since infancy, their parents, teachers and their counselors in the American Ukrainian Youth Association have worked to lay the foundation to enable them to this end".
Podruha Adia continued with the presentation, calling upon the fathers to lead their daughters in a dance. Throughout the nicely choreographed dance, one could not help but notice the bond of love between father and daughter, touchingly expressed at the end of the dance with a kiss from the fathers on the foreheads of their daughters. The mothers were honored next in a touching ceremony. "Yunachky" Martusia Sendun (Mykola Pavlushkov Branch) and Oleksandra Gorodiski (Dmytro Vitovsky Branch), as though little angels in white, distributed long-stemmed red roses to each of the debutantes, who then presented them to their mothers. There were many tears of joy among the mothers as well as the guests.
Once the parents were seated, the spotlight was on the debutantes and their escorts. To the tunes of a classical waltz, they delighted the guests with another wonderfully choreographed dance by Podruha Adia. Throughout a spirited series of dips, twirls and bows they covered the entire large dance floor. Their radiance, grace, beauty, elegance and charm were awarded with extended applause from the guests.
A delicious dinner followed the presentation preceded by prayer led by Rt. Rev. Ivan Krotec, pastor of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Parish in Chicago. Fr. Krotec also extended his greetings and congratulations, and called upon everyone to remember those who could not be present, and those who were instrumental in the origination and growth of our youth organization. Guests then enjoyed the rest of the evening, dancing to the sounds of the "Chornozem" band (New Jersey) and "Dzerelo" band (Chicago). At the stroke of midnight New Year favors were brought out and friends and acquaintances embraced each other with the New Year. Reluctantly, guests left, but did so with wonderful memories. Sincerest thanks and congratulations are due to all those who helped make this lovely evening possible, particularly the "Malanka" committee: Chairperson, Anna Hirota; members Olia Popil-Bozio, Ivanka Bryan, Oksana Haliw-Kurywczak, Irene Holowatyj, Katerzyna Jerzewska, Irene Owerko, Adia Striltschuk and Lori Ann Wruskyj.
With the New Year, our wish for everyone is that your lives be filled with the blessings of peace, the beauty of hope and the spirit of love! And we once again congratulate our debutantes with our heartfelt wishes for a bright and blessed future.
Debutantes (and escorts): Roksolana Cirincione (Yuri Petrasz), Bohdanna Czerniak (Mark Borniak), Kathryn Diehl (Dominick Angotti), Ulana Dzwinyk (Mario Abramiuk), Christina Fedaj (Mark Fafendyk), Alesandra Ilchena (Stephen Kinczyk), Katrina Kopczak (Jason Zarka), Nadia Kukuruza (Lubomyr Fediuk), Olena Kuzma (Marko Medynsky), Anna Sabchyshyn (Michael Yavorsky), Vera Skocen (Alex Abhay), Aleksandra Terefenko (Petro Vasylyk), Veeka Tymciurak (Vasyl Kukuruza), Luba Vasilik (Danylo Miakush).