Ukrainian Folklore Essay Research Paper Purposes of

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Ukrainian Folklore Essay, Research Paper Purposes of Ukrainian-American Folklore The relatively large Ukrainian community in the United States has many traditions and customs, most of which stem from a feeling of Ukrainian nationalism. As Ukraine was being overtaken by Russia, Ukrainians were immigrating by the thousands to the US. Ukrainians moving to the new world were leaving behind a disappearing culture and moving to a completely different land. Immigrants were proud of their heritage, and many of the traditions that were started in America exist to preserve this heritage and to pass it on to future generations. The Ukrainian Boy Scouting program is one such tradition. Ukrainians in America started this program in the early 1900?s to train their young to return to

Ukraine and drive the Russians out. This began as resistance to Russian rule over Ukraine. All boys and girls participate in this intermittently throughout the year, starting at age seven and continuing for life. Ukrainian Boy Scouts is very different from the typical American view of Boy Scouts, in that it involves a more rigorous wilderness-training program. This is because the program was essentially started as a military training program, and although it exists now only for fun and tradition, many of the subjects and ideas taught to the youths remain the same. People who are involved in the program put their children through it, as an attempt to preserve Ukrainian culture. When Ukrainians turn eighteen they become counselors, and at age thirty-five they become seniors and run

the program. This program, along with a handful of similar programs, was started for various reasons. To begin with, Ukrainian youths had trouble adjusting to American society. “They (Ukrainian youth programs) are helping to solve some of the social problems of the ?second generation? that does not seem to be able to find its way into American society or does not feel at home there.” Ukrainian youths were out of place in America with no sense of identity, and these programs made the adjustment less difficult. These programs also serve to maintain youth interest in Ukrainian heritage. “The adults are perplexed at the indifference of the American-born youth to such worthy institutions (Ukrainian-American organizations).” The youth programs involve American-born Ukrainians

at a young age, insuring that they will grow up to preserve Ukrainian heritage and culture. A third reason for these programs is that, at the time of their creation, the Ukrainian community in America was divided into two groups. “One of them represented independent Ukrainian nationalism and the other, being stimulated by funds from Russia, was pro-Russian.” The nationalist group was responsible for these programs. In addition to the other functions, they started these programs to compete with the pro-Russian faction and ensure the survival of Ukrainian culture. These programs exist today to ensure the future of Ukrainian culture, essentially serving the same function it always has. The Red Flower is a traditional Ukrainian song. It also comes from Ukraine?s history with

Russia, and although it is sung in Ukrainian, The chorus goes as follows in English: Down in the valley A flower wilted And our sacred country Went to ruins The flower in the song is a metaphor for Ukraine, and when Russia took control of Ukraine, the “flower wilted”. This is a somber song, which is sung at serious gatherings such as funerals or church. It is also sung often during the Boy Scouts training, to teach the young to sing it. Clearly this song serves as a source of nationalism, because the words remind those who hear it of Ukraine?s sad past. The song also reminds Ukrainians of why it is important to preserve their culture, to restore Ukraine to glory. The Hopak is a traditional Ukrainian dance, which is performed frequently by Ukrainians in America. Outsiders