ArtUkraine Special Report on Ukrainian Festivals
By ArtUkraine.com Culture and Travel Editor
Kyiv, Ukraine, November, 2002
KOSIV, Ukraine - A group of men in beautiful national Hutsul
costumes were gathered in a circle and involved in last minute
discussions. The men were excited and waiting for the large parade
to begin. Not far from them another Hutsul was standing with his horse
holding the Festival torch, ready to lead the parade. Everyone was
obviously ready for the Hutsul Festival to begin.
It only took them a few more minutes to form a line, start
the parade and begin the march towards Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the
central square of Kosiv, Ukraine. The time was 10:30 a.m. on Saturday,
September 28, 2002 and this was the opening event of the huge XII
International Festival of Hutsul Culture.
The sound of trembitas announces opening of the festival
(Click on photos to enlarge them)
The idea to organize the recent Hutsul culture festivals emerged
in 1991 after the Independence of Ukraine. The festival started as a local
It soon grew in size and became international.
Several thousand people participated in the twelfth Hutsul festival
parade. There were Hutsuls from other Transcarpathian regions
including Poland, Hungary, and Romania. Each group of participants
wore their own colorful national costumes and many were singing,
dancing and playing various musical instruments. The parade was
a very moving, inspiring event to witness. This was a parade everyone
should witness in their lifetime.
Start making your plans now to be at the XIII Festival next year!
In front of each separate delegation there was a banner with the
name of the town, region or country they represented. The banners were
carried by beautiful young ladies. One of the banners read, "Greetings
from the Village of Prokurava Folk Ensemble "Carpathian Colors."
Folk ensemble "Carpathian Colors" from the village of Prokurava
Amateur Folk Theater of the town of Vyzhnytsya arrives at the central square
As the parade headed for Maidan people kept arriving and
soon the central square of the town was filled with participants and
guests of the Festival. There were guests from all over Ukraine,and guests
from as far as the United States, Brazil and Canada.
The International Festival of Hutsul Culture has grown into a major
annual event and has spread to include the various areas of the Hutsul
region. Every year a different town of this region hosts the Festival.
Every year the Festival has gotten larger.
There were many pre-festival events which took place in Kosiv,
such as an exhibition of children's paintings, exhibition of the students
of Kosiv Institute of Decorative Applied Arts, opening of a special
exhibition at the Kosiv Museum of Folk Arts. There was also a conference
"Hutsul'shchyna at the beginning of the XXI Century"
All of these events have become an essential part of the annual Festival.
Around 11:30 a.m. a torch carrying the festival fire arrived at the
Maidan. It was escorted by a group of Hutsuls on horses. The fire was
brought all the way from the mountains. A group of men appear on the
podium with trembitas (this is national musical instrument ). The sound
of trembitas was heard and people cheered at the lighting of
the festival fire. The XII International Festival of Hutsul Culture had
There were speeches from various officials and then a group of school
children appeared on the podium holding candles. They were followed by a
group of older men in military uniforms who were carrying a long wreath.
Welcome to Kosiv! - young Kosiv beauty in front of the "Revival" monument
These men were veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. They
memorialized with a moment of silence those who had fought and died for
Ukrainian independence. The words "Glory to Ukraine!"sounded from
the podium, and all the people in the Maidan unanimously loudly responded
"Glory to the Heroes!" All of the people at the Festival were proud to
salute their heroes and proud to salute an independent Ukraine.
Both old and young ladies in Kosiv are skillful in embroidered paintings
From generation to generation - famous decorated weaving from
Blessing of the "Revival" monument
A small group of clergymen then appeared in Maidan Nezalezhnosti.
They assembled in front of the new monument built in the center of
Maidan. It was to be dedicated and unveiled during the opening of the
The monument was soon encircled by several young people who carried blue
flags in their hands.
The monument is shaped like an egg with the Virgin Mary and Christ
inside. It symbolizes "Revival". High ranking clergymen of the
and Ukrainian Orthodox of Kyiv Patriarchate church started the
blessing. People were watching the ceremony and listening to the prayers
The dedication ceremony obviously had deep meaning to the people who were
The official opening ceremony was now finished.
From this moment on the Festival was suddenly in full swing and events
started happening all over the area. The Festival came alive and there
were concerts, contests, fairs, and entertainment for all. Dozens of kiosks
offered food and drinks; the center of Kosiv, the Maidan, had become
one big Festival. Everyone was celebrating and having fun.
"Kosiv is such a quaint beautiful town," remarked Stella Bellos
Speris, who traveled from Kyiv to attend the Festival. Stella
works at the U.S.Embassy in Kyiv. "We arrived in Kosiv on
Saturday morning just before the celebrations and festivities
were to begin. I was amazed to see so many people all lined
up ready for the parade. I did not expect the parade and the
Festival to be so large," Stella said.
"The opening speeches were too long but after they were finished
the national dances began, and groups performed on the stage
wearing a wonderful assortment of traditional clothing," Stella said,
"There were men with very long horns playing musical notes that
belong to antiquity!" "The Festival is so wonderful and I am enjoying
every moment of it." Stella remarked to our reporter.
For two days the large stage erected in the Maidan square hosted
over one hundred thirty groups of artists that ranged from dancing groups
to folk song shows and amateur theatres. Among the performers were artists
of many different ages ranging from five to eighty-five years old! There
was non-stop music and entertainment for everyone to enjoy. It was not a
to keep busy for the two days and to be fully engaged in all of the
activities. Children and young people were especially having a great time.
The artists on the stage were not the only ones who showed their
talents. There were people all over the square who displayed their
kind of folkart and craft imaginable and unimaginable were there such as
pysanka (painted eggs), carved chess boards with fancy chessmen, embroidery,
ceramics, decorated weaving, wood carvings, paintings, beads embroidery,
baskets, national costumes, blankets ( lizhnyk) - the list of what one could
see and buy was very long, it seemed endless.
On Sunday representatives of ArtUkraine.com met with Mrs. Oksana Dovhun,
one of the organizers of the Festival. She told us all about the history of
the region, its museums, and rural green tourism...but that's the subject of
ArtUkraine's next culture and travel story....stay tuned for Chapter II
is coming soon.
You want a dress with embroidery? Come to Kosiv fair...price is
EDITORS NOTE: ArtUkraine will soon be posting detailed information
about the XIII International Festival of Hutsul Culture which will be held
in Vyzhnytsya, Ukraine on August 30-31, 2003.
ArtUkraine will be promoting the thirteenth Hutsul Festival as we think
this is one of the very special events held in Ukraine each year. If you
some interest in attending this event in August of 2003 please let us
know. This will allow us to keep you better informed. We also expect
to be arranging tours from Kyiv and Lviv to Vyzhnytsya for the Festival.