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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Ukrainian Culture

Old Rites of Khreshchenya

It is a ritual not for the fainthearted, a shock to the system attempted by only the most devout plunging into icy water in the middle of winter. Yet on 19 January, it is an integral part of what is a big day for Eastern European Christians during the celebration of Khreshchenya Epiphany or Theophany. Eastern Churches following the Julian calendar observe the day on 19 January because of the 13-day difference today between that calendar and the generally used Gregorian calendar.

Coming 12 days after Orthodox Christmas, the holiday focuses on the tale of Jesus being baptised in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. According to the Bible, when Jesus came up from the water, the voice of God echoed from heaven and said, This is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased. Thus, Jesus was manifested to the wider world as Christ, the Son of God. Therefore, some Eastern Orthodox worshippers consider Epiphany an even more important feast than Christmas.

Water, Blessed Water
Water is the core aspect of the feast. Therefore, the celebration is centred on the blessing of water (including natural resources) and baptism rituals. Nowadays you may see many brave souls or rather those well trained in ice swimming plunge into freezing rivers, lakes and ponds across Ukraine. They believe they recreate their baptism and cleanse themselves of all sins with water made holy and pure for the whole year. Of course, if you are not a winter swimmer, you might choose to refrain from throwing yourself in the icy waters, at the risk of coming down with the flu at best. There is another way of being purified anyway those who are not so strong of body and soul to dive into ice-holes can take some blessed water home, as it preserves its special powers of protection and healing all year long.

What Awaits You In Future
The feast entails another important folk ritual fortune telling. The Khreshchenya eve was considered the time when evil spirits went wild, thus allowing people to tell fortunes (which was severely prohibited by the church). It was the happiest night for single girls who, as usual in those days, wanted to get married and were eager to know who was destined for them, when and where.
Despite its pagan connotations, this tradition is still very popular. The simplest way to know what destiny has in store for you is as follows: write your wishes on pieces of paper and fix them around the edge of a bowl filled with water, then carefully put a burning candle in the bowls centre and wait till it starts moving. If it gets close to one of the pieces of paper and burns it, your wish comes true; if the candle remains immobile, none of your wishes will come to fruition. Never blow on the candle to help it move the ritual requires you be honest in facing your future, either during Epiphany or on any other day.

Kreshchenya Ceremony
19 January at 12.00
Hydropark, near Childrens Beach
Obolonska Naberezhna, near Pokrovskiy Cathedral
* check your local church for other ceremonies

by Anna Azarova

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  • When Walls Can Talk
  • Rights We Didnt Know We Had
  • The Path to Europe Begins Here...
  • Documenting Life
  • Head into 2014 Healthy

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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