Ukrainian Pysanka Festival in Los Angeles

The traditional pysanka festival was held at the Ukrainian Center in Los Angeles, reports “Voice of America".

Photo: IStock

The American artist Ann Marie Dagonastina learned the skill of recognizing messages in every pattern from her Ukrainian friends in New York. Her favorite symbol in pysanka, she says, is the butterfly. A brush, she is a painter for painting, beeswax and paints - the main thing you need to decorate eggs.

“The pysanka is made up of many symbols, lines, crosses, spirals, even fish, and all this is connected with the Bible. It is abundance and freedom. Butterfly just means freedom. Because of what is happening in Ukraine now, I chose it,” says Ann Marie.

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Daria Chaikovsky, president of the Ukrainian art center in Los Angeles, who came from Ukraine as a child, carefully preserves the traditions that passed from hand to hand.

“Pysanka is a Ukrainian folk art, an ancient art. Always in the spring they wrote symbols on eggs. Now Easter eggs are made throughout the year and for various occasions – for weddings, for births,” she says. Tchaikovsky says that Easter eggs have main colors this year.

“Blue and yellow are the colors of the Ukrainian flag. And then there are the hearts. With these signs, you wish the person to whom you give this egg all the best. Blue and yellow are the most popular colors this year,” says Daria, demonstrating a pysanka.

This year's visitors included refugees forced to leave their homes because of the war. Anastasia Chuba left the Kyiv region with her mother and daughter last March from shelling. Then Nastya planned that she would return home soon.

“My dad is still at the front. I expected to return home in 3 months. I don’t plan it anymore,” says Nastya.

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For many refugees from Ukraine, this center has become a new home.

“This is our outlet, this is our home now here. When you get here, you feel like you are in Ukraine with your relatives,” says Olena, a refugee from Ukraine.

The proceeds from sales at the festival will be sent to Ukraine. Volunteer Arina Gerasimova has been participating in all community events for more than a year.

“We help our military, we provide humanitarian assistance to the civilian population, in particular women and children, and we also help animal shelters by sending them food and money. And quite recently, we began to provide assistance in the construction of a settlement for refugees in the west of Ukraine, in the Carpathians. Last year we sent $1 worth of humanitarian aid - some donated by people, some by state companies. We raised about $700 with money,” says Arina.

The Pysanka Festival in the Ukrainian Center was attended by several thousand people this year. Interest in Ukrainian culture, as the organizers say, has grown not only among emigrants from Ukraine, but also among those who were not familiar with it before the war.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New Y.

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