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Curious facts about Ukrainian vyshyvanka

Vyshyvanka – traditional embroidered clothes – has always been national symbol, pride and authentic feature of Ukraine.

Today even Hollywood stars can feel themselves part of Ukraine by wearing vyshyvanka.

Curious facts about Ukrainian vyshyvanka


Authors and musicians appear in the streets wearing embroidered shirts, designers use Ukrainian ornaments in their fashion collections.

vyshyvanka in high fashion

Here are some curious facts you might not know about Ukrainian vysyhyvanka.


Embroidery protected from evil forces

Embroidery protected from evil forces

First embroidered clothes on the territory of the Slavic countries had religious meaning and protected their owners from evil. This is why shirts were decorated with patters on the sleeves, collar and everywhere where body was open.

There existed special original vyshyvanky for religious rituals and festive events.

Even kids were given embroidered shirt after birth to protect them from evil spirits.


Vysyhyvanka – one of the oldest Ukrainian attributes

Vysyhyvanka – one of the oldest Ukrainian attributes

Herodotus claimed that clothing of Scythians, who lived on the territory of Ukraine for a long time, was decorated with embroidery.

In Cherkasy oblast archeologist found pictures of men dressed in a clothes that bears strong resemblance to Ukrainian costume. The finding dates back to 6 century BC.

The same decorated shirts are attributed to Trypilians.


Only women could decorate clothes

Only women could decorate clothes

Vysyhyvanka was always embroidered by women, so that it had powerful emotional charge, it symbolized goodness, love and loyalty.

The ancient incantation of the ancestors said that shirt should be white so that man husband would be good to his wife.

Girls had to embroider shirt for their fiancés before wedding.


What else to read: 30 personalities and crafts from Ukraine to change the world.


Washing shirt was a specific ritual

Washing shirt was a specific ritual

Men’s vysyhyvanka was a symbol of love. Legend says that chumaks (merchants who traveled to buy salts etc.) entrusted washing of their shirts to a single girl. The others couldn’t perform this sacral ritual. In this way chumak proved his loyalty to beloved woman.


Read also: Day of vyshyvanka in Ukraine – get ready to celebrate!


Vysyhyvanka on Ukrainian currency

Vysyhyvanka on Ukrainian currency

The first person to introduce embroidered shirts into modern clothes was Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko. He wore vysyhyvanka under his jacket and with modern attire.

Ivan Franko wearing embroidered shirt and a jacked is portrayed on Ukrainian currency of 20 UAH.


Diversity of patterns across Ukraine

Diversity of patterns across Ukraine

Every region of Ukraine has its special vysyhyvanka which is different in techniques and patters. For example, Hutsuls who lived in Carpathians decorated their shirts with geometric shapes and floral patters. Residents of Sloboda Ukraine (eastern part of country, close to Russian territories) embroidered only geometric patters with white threads.

If in western Ukraine vyshyvanky fluttered of different colors, in eastern regions just few colors dominated.


Read also: Vyshyvanka was an everyday clothes back in middle of XX century.


Ornaments survived from pagan times

Ornaments survived from pagan times

Many ornaments that are used in decorating vyshyvanky date back to pagan times. For example, solar signs (or thunderous sign, wheel of Jupiter) associated with pagan god Rod who was responsive for creating and giving birth to children.


The most original black embroidery

The most original black embroidery

Vyshyvanky from Borshchiv region in Western Ukraine are known for their specific embroidery with black threads.

It is said that centuries ago Turks and Tatars killed almost all local men. That is why for many generations women would dress themselves in such shirts. They even have unique icon of St. Mary dressed is black embroidered shirt.


Vhyshyvaka patters have new life

Vhyshyvaka patters have new life

Recently vysyhyvanka and other traditional Ukrainian symbols have become really popular again. There has even appeared new trend to decorate one’s vehicle with patterns. Motorists decorate their cars with special stickers designed as embroidery.

Traditional ornaments migrate from clothes to body, it has become popular to make tattoos with patriotic symbols of intricate ornaments.

patriotic tattoo

Some people think this is great, some see it as foolishness. Anyway, that bright patters are better that useless phases.

Another controversial innovation is dressing your cat or dig in embroidered clothes. This is weird, but sometimes it looks really nice.


This is how step by step world accepts Ukraine and Ukraine accepts us.

Source: social networks

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