Wedding Shawl and Rushnyk

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Shawl on left, Rushnyk on right
Shawl on left, Rushnyk on right

While learning the cultures from my parent's motherland, I never realized I was holding the birth of my family. At the end of a Ukrainian wedding, the mother of the bride removes her daughter's veil and wraps her shoulders with the wool/cotton woven shawl. Finally, the daughter is now considered a married woman. Lastly, the bride dances with all the unmarried girls as a blessing for them to also get married relatively soon. The second cloth, woven with red and white embroidery symbols and cryptograms of the ancient world, called a Rushnyk, would have the bride and groom step on this towel like material and walk across it to symbolize the path of marriage. These old traditions date back to the generations of my great grandparents. Although this tradition may not be held at future weddings, the second generations will not necessarily take part in this matrimonial ritual. The symbolism of the wedding day carried on in my family with these fabrics as they immigrated to America in 1997. Up until now, my mother still keeps these traditional cloths tucked away with all her clothing to never forget the symbol of love, marriage, and family that was passed down to her. I would have never known these two pieces of fabric could connect me so close to my parent's birthplace, and that these would be the symbol of the start of me.

Place(s): New York, Ukraine
Year: 1997

– Michelle Chukhriy

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant