A vyshuvanka is the traditional shirt or blouse of Ukrainian people. The vyshuvanka is not just a shirt. It speaks of Ukraine. My blouse has long sleeves with a round neckline. It is made from linen. Elements of geometrical ornaments are embroidered in red and black colors. Black color is a symbol of fertile land. Our ancestors believed that red thread is a source of positive energy and symbolizes joy, sunshine and love. The cross stitch handmade technique with colored cotton threads makes it look incredibly beautiful.This blouse was actually sewn for me by my grandmother by hand. She worked on that vyshuvanka so hard as my guardian. I remember that day when she gave me that blouse, like a present on my sixteenth birthday. “It will bring you luck”, she said. I was twenty years old in 2008, when I immigrated to New York. The only special thing for me that I brought from Ukraine was vyshuvanka. Whenever I wear my grandma’s present, it reminds me of my life in Ukraine. I remember my childhood, my summers with my grandmother how she taught me to embroider. It keeps reminding me of my roots. Vyshuvanka means a lot for me because it is not just the traditional shirt, it is my talisman. The vyshuvanka is important piece of clothing for me and my family. Every member has it. We wear it on our holiday when we go to church. It shows our culture and traditions. These days many Ukrainians wear vyshuvankas to demonstrate our patriotism because we are Ukrainian, no matter where we live.
– Oksana Hrytsak