I honestly despised wearing it. The white soft fabric looked different from a normal shirt and the colorful embroidery made it extra conspicuous. But as a ukrainian child I couldn't escape the vyshyvanka. It was the traditional outfit for any important event that us ukrainians had to attend. Wedding, festivals, or in my case this moving up ceremony I had for Ukrainian school. As I walked inside though, I saw dozens of kids and adults in the same sort of clothing. It made me realize that that vyshyvanka was something that not only connected me to these people but to all the Ukrainians around the world and in Ukraine. My dad was the first one I remember ever seeing wearing one and he was going with me to see a festival. He became who I thought of when I thought of the vyshyvanka and just of my culture in general. He had lived in Ukraine his whole life so he was completely Ukrainian in that sense. When he came to America he bought the culture he grew up with. In Ukraine America is still seen as the land of endless opportunity where anyone can go from rags to riches. So when my parents won the green card lottery it was a huge deal. It was both a happy and sad occasion since they would be leaving all their friends and family to go to a completely strange place where the only people we knew were some friends of friends we had never met before. Despite these things my parents knew it was the right choice and especially now with all the unrest and violence happening back home.
– Zakhar Lyakhovych